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December 22, 2005

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The epitome of this was Bush's difficulty in getting traction for his Social Security schemes. He got nowhere in the House in part because Charlie Stenholm, Dem of Texas and a fan of private accounts who might have helped, had been shoved out in the DeLay redistricting.

I can't think why the Bushies thought the conservative Dems would just come over to them after seeing what happened to Stenholm. There was no reward for cooperating--it meant weakness to Rove/DeLay, and they would go after such a person.

And all the GOP spokespersons have become such Borg that they can't hear any criticism. I watched Colorado Gov Bill Owen and Bush's communications guy (McKinnon) interviewed on Hardball by Andrea Mitchell. She told Owen basically that what he was saying wasn't true and without missing a beat he just repeated it all. With McKinnon, every time she suggested that things might not be rosy, that several GOP folks were upset, he denied this was true and said things were fine. It was like he just couldn't hear.

In Owen's case I agree with Digby that he doesn't really understand or believe what he's saying, he is just reading a script (or using an implant). But McKinnon was very deliberately denying that there were any GOP senators who were upset about the spying. It was as if he couldn't allow himself to be seen to accept or give credence to any criticism. They seem to feel this makes them seem strong, but as they get farther and farther from reality, they just start to seem really strange, like the people who joined cults. I do think we are now seeing proof of what we knew all along--he doesn't really have a majority, and he isn't going to get one. I think 2006 will be even worse for them than 2005.

I have seen several blogs very upset because the gwb lawlessness has not sparked more outrage.

I think the public is registering that something disquieting is going on, but my guess is that the public is not more upset because the public views it as a "policy wrong," not a "personal wrong." Ironically, parts of the public got very upset over Monica because it outraged them that Clinton acted badly for personal gain. At this point, I do not think the public views gwb as spying for personal gain. I am not sure that is correct, but I think that is how it is viewed. I think the general public and probably the mainstream media view the lawlessness as overzealous in a good cause. As long as that holds, it will mute the uproar. Though it shouldn't.

Anyway, politicians follow public opinion, they don't lead.

What it tells me is that Abraomoff is less a threat to democracy than out of control eavesdropping, but Abramoff is more of a threat to the Republican establishment. Personal gain.

Good points, jwp.

Mimikatz, I'll have to explain the Borg to my mother, but once she understands, she'll greatly appreciate your depiction of Bill Owens, a governor she detests almost as much as she hates Bush.

The brain-dead (or insane?) 40 percent of the electorate who presently support Bush believe that his breaking the law to make us "safe" is OK. Avoiding congressional oversight is also OK because it makes it easier for him to get the job done. Yep. That's the main thing. The constitution? "It's just a godamn piece of paper," Bush says three separate times, and the MSM and all the Republicans just chuckle. Heh, heh, heh. He's JOKING! Can't you see that?

Astonishing that Bush goes on national TV and acknowledges wiretapping without a warrant. Republican talking points all say the same thing. No big thing. The president needs to keep us safe.

What's next?

I can hardly wait.

Democrats had to exert great effort to contest conservative priorities, but were unable to highlight any of their own.

That comment is true and highlights the need for a Democratic media strategy. Why can't there be a Democrats only summit where members create their own budget version? Of course it has no chance in Congress, but the point is, it shows that the Democrats do have their own ideas and plans. It might generate a bit of media coverage and furnish Democrats with a countercharge to the argument that they have no ideas. One of our think tanks like The Center for American progress would be able to produce a draft of a budget, so the summit would not be hard to stage.

On the contrary, the Dems should let the Republicans pass as much extreme policy as they want. Then should make a list of all those policies and campaign in the next election on overturning them all. For example the Dems shouldn't have fought ANWR so hard and campaigned on stopping it if they win office. Also they should make it a campaign issue to cut back the Patriot Act not stop it now.
The only way the Dems will win office is by offering policies. Those can be positive and negative. They should list everything Bush has done that it unpopular and overturning them is their negative policy. It sounds pretty obvious but in the last 2 elections the Dems didn't campaign on overturning anything the Republicans had done.
There was one exception and that was the war, the only one they should have kept quiet about. It seems the Dems make a list of everything they should do, do the exact opposite and then wonder why they lose.

Carot,

The budget summit doesn't have to be now, After all it's too late. But at some point before the elections in '06, a summit would be a useful of drawing a sharp contrast to the GOP and of giving Democrats a common voice (or talking points, if you prefer).

Actually the Democrats submit two alternative Budgets in the House, and have done so ever since 1994. The Black Caucus does one, and the Democratic Study Group does the other. It's just that avter they are put in the hopper, that's the end of them. The House Rules are such that they get no debate, do not get committee hearings, and when bills come to the floor they come under rules that prohibit amendment and debate. It's hard, as the minority to get the word out that there is an alternative when the majority can simply run it to the round file.

carot, gotta disagree with your advice that the Dems should sit back and let the Republicans do their thing, then reverse all those bad policies. First, there is no guarantee Democrats will win a majority. Second, once certain policies - like ANWR drilling, are in place, they are impossible to reverse. For another instance, try raising capital gains taxes.

if there is one thing we know with frickin' certainty by now, it's that bush doesn't think he has a problem.

so he will never change. it's not an open question.

why even smart players like brownstein act like there's a possibility that bush might actually learn from experience is beyond me.

which is why the lawless wiretapping is such a grave constitutional crisis that will continue to nag away, no matter how on message the right-wingers stay: we've got the president proudly breaking the law in order to contravene the 4th ammendment on nothing more than the say-so of some lawyers. There exists no vehicle short of a Supreme Court decision or impeachment that will make him stop, and both of those, for differing reasons, are extremely unlikely.

so we look at the very real likelihood that bush will continue this right up until january, 2009, since to do otherwise would be to acknowledge a problem that, in this case as in every other, bush refuses to acknowledge exists.

that's a crisis, elevating the problem of stubborn simple-mindedness to constitutional dimensions.

"carot, gotta disagree with your advice that the Dems should sit back and let the Republicans do their thing, then reverse all those bad policies. First, there is no guarantee Democrats will win a majority. Second, once certain policies - like ANWR drilling, are in place, they are impossible to reverse. For another instance, try raising capital gains taxes."
This presupposed there is nothing the Dems can do to win the election. No tactics will make a difference, and no policies can be reversed.
But this is not true. The Dems shouldn't be afraid of trying to reverse tax cuts on rich people, it should be a campaign promise. I say promise not suggestion. The Dems are supposed to stand for their base, and their base's interest is for tax cuts to rich people to be reversed and that money given to their base through tax cuts or government spending. It's not negotiable, if the Dems don't stand for the interests of their base then they should say so and let another party form that does so.
I think the Dems have morphed into the equivalent of the British Social Democrats where they are no longer a left wing party at all, but are a centrist party representing independants. They have no interest in the left wing base except in hoping they will vote on election day. They have virtually no left wing policies compared to other left wing parties throughout the world. Like it or not to be left wing is to believe in socialism to solve society's problems and if the Dems don't believe in socialism then they are not left wing. They are capitalists.
I see no left wing policies at all. The Dems should be trying to change the laws to increase unionism. Try raising the basic wage. Try increasing health insurance to the poor. Try increasing welfare. Try defending the poor against the rich. In fact I see no difference between the Dems and a typical right wing European party at all. So the first problem is your party doesn't even exist philosophically. The only thing they seem to be passionate about is killing babies in red states.
So once the Dems work out a reason to exist other than to hate Bush they have to rediscover the tactics of politics. There is no reason why ANWR couldn't be reversed in a year with the 2006 elections. If the Dems campaigned on preserving it or reversing exploration it is a positive issue which will gain them votes. They should be campaigning on reducing the Patriot Act. Make a list of everything the base doesn't like about Bush's policies. Trim them a bit to gain some independants and make them campaign pledges. The Dems should be campaigning on getting rid of everything Bush ever did. Restore environmental protection on salmon, parklands, and forests. Campaign on new ethics rules which would make another DeLay impossible.
The campaign could be called Erasing Bush. Then they need to start neutralising the Republican policies. As I have said many times the Dems could win by stop supporting Roe and the states would likely still allow abortion anyway.
But this issue can easily be neutralised. Call the Republicans hypocrites by saying they too support abortion because some of their politicians do support it. Keep hounding them to throw Arnold out of the party for being pro choice. Hound every moderate until they turn hard right and beome unelectable or become independants.
No Republican in a blue state can support fundamentalists on abortion so they can all be hounded as hypocrites. Doing this enough destroys the Republican ploy of appearing to help the fundamentalists. If they lose that support then they lose the election.
These aren't my ideas. Every other left wing party in the world does this, which is why they are successful. The Dems don't do this which is why they are the worst left wing party in the world.

One of the things I notice and agree with is the statement that folks don't see the spying as "personal". But if someone links Bush's enemies lists (database) with this spying, then all that's out the window.

Given Karl Rove's dirty tricks, I'll bet that is going on. If someone can get ahold of that database, it would be interesting to discover what data sources went in to it's creation.

If they are using the Government to craft this, then it's all over.

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