The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, December 18, 2006

The Right-- already planning the comeback.

The authors of this article also wrote the book Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy, and it sounds like it's probably well worth a read, although it didn't seem to make the splash some other books on the phenomenon have. Highly recommended.

Majority power also gives Democrats the capacity to ensure the accountability that was sorely lacking in recent years. High-minded commentators fret about a subpoena frenzy, but judicious use of congressional oversight and self-policing provides an unmatched opportunity for Democrats to correct past abuses while reminding voters of how, and for whom, the GOP majority used the tools of government authority. Here, too, Democratic control means that what was once carefully hidden can be exposed.

For a sense of how this might play out, look no further than Rick Santorum. In his voting record, Santorum was actually a run-of-the-mill GOP senator, only moderately to the right of his caucus' middle. His distinctiveness came from his willingness to run as who he was, rather than as a fake moderate. The result? Despite spending more than any senator not named Clinton, Santorum lost by a staggering 18 points. One has to go back 26 years to find a Senate incumbent thrown out by a similar margin.

It goes without saying that the Republican powers that be are very, very interested in keeping things the way they've been for the last six years-- reactionary ideologues in power, a media that portrays them as centrist, and a misinformed public. And this post from the Prospect strikes me as entirely too plausible (and is also highly recommended):

It goes a little something like this (hit it): Democrats take over Congress in 2007. Bush begins a troop increase, allegedly in the name of bringing the war to a desirable conclusion. It has all sorts of anticipated ill effects: increased deaths, increased chaos, mounting strain on the military. Bush demonstrates no willingness to back down. Increasingly, liberal anti-war legislators in safely blue precincts calculate that the only way they can stop the war is to stop funding it. When other Democrats in the House and the Senate start equivocating on a funding cut-off, liberal activists start recruiting primary challengers who endorse the plan. Bush comes out swinging: "If they really want to end the war," he says again and again, "they should show where they stand and vote against funding the war." Karl Rove's plan is a simple one: facing a rising popular tide against the war in general, he needs to force the opposition into an antiwar position that isn't popular in particular -- like cutting off funding while the troops are in the field.

Of special interest is a link within the post to another TNR article from October, which looks at the obsession righties have with Vietnam-- just as Bush and McCain (and Lieberman) get ready to go the Vietnam route with Iraq.