mardi, octobre 10, 2006

Gridlock with an order of fries?

If the Democrats take control of the House and/or Senate in November...For those of us who have felt shut of the democratic process for what? twelve years? this notion has all the wistful quality of a phrase like "If I win the lottery" or "if the newspapers would stop covering Terrell Owens" (maybe you have to live in Philadelphia to feel that way about TO's yen for melodrama, but I doubt it). Those of us who tend to vote Democrat have to look way far back to remember the good old days when the party ruled the halls of Congress and...very often made a big mess of it. There was a fair amount of corruption in Congress when the opposition was in power-it's just what happens when one party is in power for too long and nobody else can rein them in. It was the Democrats who got us into Vietnam, was it not? Now it is a Republican President who took us into Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died. I think that's the thing that infuriates and saddens me the most-how dare we destroy a people in the name of democracy? As far as I am concerned, those who approved of this war have blood on their hands. Then there is the whole question of what we have done to ourselves in the name of "the war on terror." When history judges George Bush (let alone the God with whom he claims such close friendship) will it be as a man of vision, even if a failed one? Or will it be as a man of limited imagination and black and white thinking who managed to rule a country with a witches brew of secrecy and fright ? Frankly, I could care less. What bugs me is: why did our Democrat and Republican elected reps let him trample all over our civil liberties? Clearly, this was a tremedously conservative Congress-in many ways, more so than even a lot of Republicans. In addition, they had a vision and a plan. The Republicans were bent on cutting taxes-some of it because they really have faith that it will help the economy and that the gains trickle down to the poor. Although green Republicans are a growing voting bloc, particularly in the suburbs, Americans could not hope for much from this phenomenally pro-business and anti-environment Administration. Given that the ranks of the poor are growing, and African Americans tend to be disproportionately represented, it also would be challenging to suddenly transform the Republican party into the party of Lincoln-or even the party of Gerald Ford. But it is amazing that so many in both political parties let the President trample on both the prerogatives of the Congress and of the courts. All this to say-there is a lot of work to do-particularly on problems like global warming. The question is: can the Democrats restore some health to this dysfunctional mess? With this particular White House, their options are limited. They haven't been able to agree on a strategy for getting us out of Iraq-although that shot across the bows from conservatives is a bit of smoke and mirrors, because the Republicans don't have one, either. And they've never been as good at party unity as the Republicans. If the Dems take the House and/or the may be that the best we can hope for is that they curb the machinations of a White House feeling the consequences of its kingly view of the power of the Chief Executive. It may be a while before we can ask for anything more. Who ever thought obstructionism would look this appealing?

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