The New Republic Calls For Obstruction!
Well, if the New Republic hasn’t just given the Democrats a blueprint on how to act for the next two years. Forget about bipartisan. Forget about cooperation. Obstruct! That is what it’s all about.
Democrats shouldn't fool themselves. The American people haven't given them a mandate to govern; they have given them a mandate to stop Bush from governing. For the next two years, the job of the Democratic Congress will be to block--and to hope that, in 2008, the party hands the ball to someone who can really run.
In this assessment of the Clinton years, Peter Beinart believes that the entire purpose of the Republican majority in congress in the 90s was to prevent President Clinton from getting anything done. Now THAT is a brilliant analysis! He does, of course get one thing right. The American people have not given the Democrats a mandate to govern. Nor did they vote for endless investigations, partisanship and obstruction.
This obsessive partisanship, not the scandals that plagued the Clinton years, nor the recession evident in the economy as the 2000 election loomed, is what doomed the campaign of Vice President Al Gore. Never mind that he was a caricature of a candidate who would have looked more at home in a storefront window. It was the congressional Republicans and their endless investigations and partisanship that ended the American public’s patience, and caused then to turn to an outsider, George W Bush in that election. When President Bush promised a return to civility the public listened and voted. (Never mind that the election was stolen, we don’t want to talk about that in this analysis, because it doesn’t fit the template for THIS piece.)
Meanwhile, theWashington Post reporting on the Kumbaya meeting with President Bush and Speaker to be Nancy Pelosi have this to say:
Pelosi and Bush offered smiles and pledges of cooperation as they faced reporters in the Oval Office after a lunch of pasta salad in the president's private dining room. "We won't agree on every issue," Bush said. "But we do agree that we love America equally, that we are concerned about the future of the country and that we will do our very best to address big problems."All smiles and no substance, the speaker-elect suggests on the one hand that cooperation is in the works, and bipartisan is the plan, while John Conyers lays out his plan to draw up articles of impeachment. (note that while the article is from March, the site is updated daily.)
"We both extended the hand of friendship," said Pelosi, who will be the first female speaker of the House in history when the new Congress convenes.
While Harry Reid (and Dick Durban) meet with the President and Vice President:
"The election is over. The only way to move forward is with bipartisanship and openness and to get some results. And we made a commitment, the four of us here today, that's what we are going to do," he said.It will be difficult to put behind the harsh words the Majority Leader-elect has had for out President in the recent past.
“To me it shows how dangerously incompetent he is,” Reid said. “'Stay the course, mission accomplished, bring 'em on,' the American people are sick of that. We need to change course in Iraq. ... I think the president burying his head in the sand is not going to do the trick.”With the new tone in Washington, no borrow a phrase the President used when first elected, it is doubtful that this new tone will last any longer than the first ‘new tone’ did…about ten minutes, if I recall.
AND, if the Democratic leadership hears the call of their constituency, as outlined in the New Republic article, that ten minutes might already have passed!
Finally, a confrontational Congress could help the Democrats in 2008. Partisan gridlock might hurt Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's reputations, but the public will mostly blame an unpopular president. And, while the GOP presidential nominee in 2008 will almost certainly try to distance himself from Bush and Washington, a Democrat should find it easier to play the untainted outsider, as Bush did in 2000. Rather than help Bush salvage his presidency, Congress should lay the foundation for a Democratic candidate to run against it.
AHH, for the good old days, before the advent of partisan politics! Before it became necessary to begin politicking for the next election, the day following the last! The good old days when all Americans were united! In other words, the days before those misguided “patriots” started that whole brouhaha in 1776!
The last six years have been contentious. If the TNR article is any road map, the next two will be worse!