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June 19, 2006

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If Rove, as rumor implies, is urging a strategy that makes Iraq good news for Republicans, then how can impeachment be bad news for Dems? I'll tell you how. If the LEADERSHIP of the Party does not
come out unequivocally, but rather timidly SUGGESTS impeachment,
then the steamrollers of the media, punditry and the populace will
smell blood and savage our worthless carcasses. Impeachment must be a necessary concomitant of a scofflaw Executive Branch. Carpus Diem!

Kagro, the winds of impeachment have blown over. If you listen to voters in that vast flyover land in the middle of the country, an increasing number of them are coming to the conclusion that they are on their own, that both parties are corrupt, that the process is stacked against the working man and woman and that there's no one to stand up for them.

I am beginning to wonder if the Dems haven't let a historical opportunity slip away from them. Perhaps they were too late to the game. The battle for the minds and hearts of "flyover country" really began after Katrina. Never in modern political history had a natural disaster provided the opposition party with the opportunity to define themselves as the party that stood with the average American. Then came the Port controversy which provided an opening for Dems on national security. Unfortunately, while the Dem leadership was busy trying to come up with their plan for the fall elections, they missed the opportunities they needed to define themselves.

Waiting until the fall elections to define what Dems stand for is turning out to be too late. Since Katrina, there has been a political vacuum. I don't think that the Dem leadership realized this. That vacuum has dissipated. If you listen to voters now, it appears to have been replaced with the realization that no one stands for them. If this is true, then come November, we can expect a lower turnout than anticipated which is not good news for Democrats since it will mean that only the committed bases of the two parties will vote.

I sense, for the first time in my political life, a hunger among average American voters for a more populist approach to politics. The corporate scandals, the outrageous pay packages of corporate bigwigs and the devastating effects of outsourcing on the U.S. job market have sapped the working man and woman's trust in corporate America. The high cost of medical care and prescription drugs and the lack of afforable heathcare have made quality healthcare out of reach for an increasing number of working men and women. The sagging U.S. economy for the middle-class have sent shockwaves of economic insecurity among formerly economically secure middle-class Americans. The piercing of the housing bubble is starting to have an effect on those middle-class families who have too much house and have already lived up the cash bonanza courtesy of the housing bubble. As interest rates climb, the people who are paying for their college educations are finding they'll have less money as they get set to adjust to paying higher interest costs on their outstanding educational debt. For all those middle-class families that lived above their means and for all those lower-class families that barely survived and for the elderly poor who are barely surviving, the interest rate increases on credit card debt and the higher minimun payments are placing a straitjacket on their standard of life.

While the Bush Republican party's policies have been a modern day "gold rush" for the rich, the average American is facing a "perfect storm" that threatens to pull more and more of the middle-class down the economic ladder while it buries the elderly poor and the lower economic classes.

For all those voters that need a lifeline, where have the Dems been? Afterall, these are the votes they'll need in November to win big.

That all sounds like there's probably some basis in truth, Jon. What's missing is the data.

And while I wouldn't be surprised to see plenty of it on the question of populist approaches to politics, or even on governmental corruption, I'd be shocked if you could actually trace it to Katrina, as much sense as that would make.

That all goes without addressing the necessity for impeachment (or any other sufficiently robust correction you can think of) for reestablishing the commonly understood Constitutional order with respect to checks and balances among the branches. But since that's not really what we're talking about in this particular post, we'll leave it out, having noted it for the record.

Today's treatment of the impeachment question should apply to all questions regarding the plans of Democrats. When you're up against the conventional wisdom, only two tools are at your disposal. One is good data and good analysis, and I don't know that I've got either here, but it's something to look at. The other is simply to try to substitute a more favorable (to you) conventional wisdom. I sense that that's perhaps a better possibility with respect to changing election strategies than it is with convincing people of the necessity of making a serious constitutional challenge to the emerging order. My task, I think, requires harder proof that the CW is full of holes. I don't know that yours does.

Of course, we're also talking about two entirely different things. What I'm talking about is Constitutional housekeeping. I have no plans to make it a political platform, except insofar as restoration of the previous order is goal. The electoral politics of impeachment are addressed only because that's what it takes to get the players to consider the underlying issue. What you're talking about fits under the "positive agenda" rubric. It's an approach to administrative governance that will either be accepted or rejected on its own merits.

Maine's state Democratic conventon passed a resolution calling for the investigation and if necessary impeachment of Cheney and Bush.

It was reported out unanimously by the Platform Committee as a platform plank, but the usual thumb-sucking gutless wonders stripped it out and moved it as a resolution.

Passed on a unanimous voice vote.

About a quarter of the state Democratic parties have passed such a resolution through one mechanism or another. But the only state where it made a perceptible splash in the local media was Vermont. Other states were able to generate a single news cycle's worth of coverage out of it, which is great, but nobody has yet put together a national picture, taking a look at how so many states have passed such resolutions, often in defiance of their leadership.

If you think Maine's experience was bad, consider that of Massachusetts, where the convention leadership claimed to have "lost" all their copies of the impeachment resolution that was supposed to get a floor vote.

There isn't just "one" thing we need to be doing, there are many things. One of those things is de-legitimizing the Bush Regime by all available means, so that ultimately a significant majority of the American people withdraw their consent from that government. Discussing impeachment is one way to do that. Kagro is demonstrating that there is no downside to advocating impeachment now, even though there is no chance it would get anywhere unless the Dems take Congress (or maybe even then, but who knows at this point).

But that isn't really the point. The important thing is to introduce the possibility, get people talking and thinking about it, so it isn't scary. Kargo has shown there is no downside in that, and it accomplishes the larger purpose.

There are plenty of other things the Dems need to be doing. I think that there is truth in what Jon says and that Katrina really was the catalyst. It is hard to overestimate the effect of seeing those poor people in New Orleans if you didn't understand the failures of conservative politics already. But even if people feel "on their own" now, I'm sure they would respond to canddiates that make their welfare front and center again.

Some of the DC Dems, especially those heavily into fundraising and into the financial industry and other industries will resist, but really, what alternative is there?

If the nation isn't willing to enforce the law, we can change the law with a New Constitution.

Thanks for your work, Kagro X.

Constant: You have no e-mail address that I've ever been able to find, and I want to tell you something about Jeff Taylor, who I believe was misrepresented to you by the AP reports from Vermont.

Send me a note sometime, and I'll tell you what I mean.

Hi Kagro. I agree with your goals, as I've written on your previous posts about impeachment. However, I do think that the Dems missed a golden opening. When we were previously discussing how to move Impeachment forward, people in the "flyover zone" had finally begun to talk about it. This was a huge breakthrough. Unfortunately, there was no visible and sustained national leadership on the issue and it withered on the vine in the heartland. Just as the average Joe and Jane had begun to see the light on impeachment and to begin to discuss it in the open, the issue was allowed to melt away like the winter snows.

I hope that your hard work on the issue will keep the impeachement fires simmering. But the reality now is that unless the Dems win back control of Congress then the issue is dead politically. And even if the Dems win back the Congress, I'm not so sure that the Dem leadership won't fight tooth and nail to keep any progress toward impeachment from seeing the light of any legislative day.

I share your concern. And I agree with you that the most important issue at hand is to restore the proper balance to the system of Constitutional checks and balances. I appreciate your work and I share your goal. However, as the elections bear down upon us, I'm afraid that impeachment, for me, will have to take a back seat to getting as many wins as possible in November.

Hi Mimikatz. I hope that a lot of Dem candidates this November reach out to the disaffected voters.

In Minnesota the impeachment motion was included in the package for vote at State Convention -- and it did not pass. I think the final vote was something like 40%. However a seperate motion to support Feingold's Censure resolution did pass.

Minnesota DFL platforms are the result of resolutions introduced at precinct caucuses, approved at County and Legislative District conventions, and then the 200 with the broadest support (number of CD's) go on to a machine scored multiple choice ballot where state delegates not only indicate approve or disapprove, but also vote on whether they want the matter debated on the convention floor or not. Impeachment not only failed to make the platform, it also failed to achieve floor debate status.

The arguments against it were pragmatic I understand. "President Cheney" being perhaps the strongest. But this year even our most progressive delegates accepted the argument that it would be unfair to burden Congressional Candidates with the platform issue. Several of these can win by picking up disaffected Bush voters, but they will not get them with an Abrams Tank. The mood this year is all about winning up and down the ticket, and not about forcing conformity.

By "strongest," of course, you mean "weakest, but most widely cited."

Sheldon Whitehouse has a primary and his numbers are not nearly as strong as reported. There are a dozen Democratic primaries in Providence ward seats with most having Latino challengers.

Citizen latinos and minorities account for 17% of the state population and are concentrated in the city and surrounding areas.

Sheldon does not poll well with minorities.

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