Licking Their Lips Over VictoryThe Dems are already licking their lips over possibly winning one or both houses of Congress in November. Much of that lip polishing is justified. They've been marginalized as the minority party and haven't been able to do much except cluck about Republican shenanigans. Their impact on legislation has been virtually nill. They now look forward to the day when they can rake the other side over the coals like a circus fat man looks forward to a Thanksgiving dinner.
They'd be well advised to think about what they're contemplating though.
Temptation is high to launch a tsunami of probes into Republican behavior, start impeachment proceedings, and generally whomp their sudden inferiors as hard as possible. If the partisan vitriol is bad now, it's sure to get worse if the most extreme Democratic measures go ahead. There is much they can do to harm not only their party but also the nation.
First, their majority may be fragile. They'd do well to remember Bush's proclamation about spending the "political capital" from his "mandate". Of course he didn't have a mandate, but only the slimmest of majorities. And, what little capital he did have disappeared like fish down the maw of a whale. To affect true change, Dems will need to stifle their baser impulses and learn to craft coalitions and compromises. We've all see what happens when one side dictates debate and the other is left out in the cold - just watch the evening news.
There's also their own unpopularity to consider. As each new scandal erupts, the public's opinion of both parties drops a few points. Both houses of Congress have turned into adult day care centers where the kids run the joint and delight in poking each other in the eye. Their preoccupation with playing gotcha with anyone not of their political persuasion is one reason The Great Decider has gotten such legislative swill passed. He understands the power of divide and conquer, but as with many things he does, takes it a step too far. For him, it isn't enough to just cleave the Democrats asunder, he's more than happy to cut a swath through his own party too. The result leaves no one strong enough to resist his consistent idiocy.
It would also behoove the Dems to remember that they've had their share of scandals too. Republicans don't have a corner on the crapweasel market and dredging up every Republican indiscretion, no matter how small, will bring the DA to their doors too. We'd all be better served if they spend some of that stone throwing time in putting their own glass house in order.
It's easy to see why Dems want to beat the Republicans senseless. The Republicans visited a host of awful things on this country, things that will take us years to recover from. So the Dems are quick to point out that someone should be held accountable for those awful things - and they'd be right. However, not every indiscretion is worthy of a lynch mob. Just ask Bill Clinton about blowjobs and I'm sure you'll get a lecture on the politics of personal destruction.
If the Dems are smart, they'll start by cleaning up their own act and becoming truly fit to call themselves the Party of Morals. Only then, should they take on Republican indiscretions. When they run across an issue, they should bring it out in the open, but try to keep it in perspective. Most of the smaller issues could easily be dealt with by a truly non-partisan Ethics Committee that issues admonishments, censures, and other more civilized punishments. However, if there's a big issue, spare no expense in bringing the offender to heel. Just make sure to do it in a reasonable and balanced way. If the indiscretion is important enough, it will show through without a lot of partisan embellishment.
The big prize, however, is impeachment. On a personal level, I'd like nothing better than to see George run out of town on a rail, but doing so carries a hefty price I don't want the country to pay. One need look no farther than Monicagate to see how impeachment can divide the country. The last one left a welt on our national consciousness that it still glows red six years later. Much of the bickering now took root in that sorry episode and for the good of the nation, someone has to be the first to stand up and stop it. I think the Dems are more capable of that than the Republicans. I only hope I'm right.
The country craves and deserves a return to the days of civil debate and fair compromises in the halls of Congress. The public, regardless or their party affiliation, is fed up with the endless catcalls and attacks. We face huge problems and now is not the time to engage our vengeful fantasies at the expense of the common good. Honest disagreements are fine, but at the end of the day we need to reach a consensus to get anything done. I hope the Dems are mindful of that should they take over power.
And if they aren't, I may find myself shopping for a new party.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, October 19, 2006