About Me

My photo
This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Dems: Yield Not To Temptation"

And Also: And, then there were eight. Planets. Recently, I saw the usual suspect use the term "islamofascists" to justify sneering at the "judge going wild" (tossing in various references to "dudes" in the process for some reason) ruling as well as even Congress stepping in. The word basically means "bad Muslims" (followers of a President who doesn't know the meaning of the word "strategy" are not necessary known for exactitude), but has a certain inexact nature that poisons the discourse overall as noted here. And, finally Plan B ... 3/4 a good thing.

The value of a good editorial/opinion piece is that it expresses general sentiments on a particular topic in a useful way, be it negative or positive. This allows one to roll it around in one's head, considering and debating the basic principles involved. Since this piece serves some of these purposes, including reflecting the views of a core group of opinion makers, I decided to comment on it with some detail. [H/t]
Robert Reich is professor of public policy at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He was secretary of labor in the Clinton administration.

Establishment Clintonian Democrat. This is supposed to show how "liberal" he is, if we move the bar to the Right given recent political control. In fact, Clinton was a mixed bag, various trouble spots showing up under his watch. [Welfare "reform," "anti-terrorist" laws that cover much more ground, faith based initiatives, troubling amounts of money in politics, image politics, DLC politics, and "free" trade without proper limits.]

He says the "odds are" that the Dems will win the House. This is a bit troubling, since Reich was out there assuring us that he just plain knew who the Dems would pick as VP in 2004. Hint: it wasn't John Edwards. Anyway, Reich also is a weenie, a member of the "let's all be nice and above the fray" ... out damn spot!
You'll be sorely tempted to showcase the Bush administration in all its lurid awfulness. Imagine an endless parade of witnesses offering shocking details of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, torture camps, payoffs to Halliburton, Defense Department usurpations, Iraq’s descent into civil war, and other cover-ups, deceptions, data manipulations, suppressions of science, crass incompetencies, and outright corruption. Out of all of these hearings would come a bill of particulars so damning that every 2008 Democratic candidate running for everything from Indianapolis City Council to president will be swept into office on a riptide of public outrage.

Yes, you will be tempted to do your job ... providing oversight, including when determining the proper contours of funding, executive discretion per legislation, and so forth. The implication that this necessarily includes impeachment proceedings is not quite true. He puts forth basically a scary stereotypical scenario, helping Republican talking points. Another "reasonable" Democrat that gives that word a bad name.
After all, didn't House Republicans during the Clinton years wreak all the damage they could even when there wasn't much to complain about? Recall Dan Burton, the Indiana Republican who, while chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, issued truckloads of White House subpoenas along with a sulphurous geyser of unsupported accusations. Why shouldn't Henry Waxman, who will fill the same shoes, give as good as the Clinton White House got?

"Give as good" means to actually investigation based on supported accusations?
Warning: Resist all such temptation,

You won’t be credible. The public would see the investigations and hearings as partisan wrangling. They might even cause the public to question what it already knows, allowing Republicans to argue it was all conjured up by partisan zealots from the start.

Sure. Why should the public, who put you in power in part because they are tired of the crap going on now, expect you to actually investigate stuff? That would be weird.
You won’t get any new information anyway. Your subpoena power would have no effect on this White House. You’d end up fighting in federal courts for the whole two years. Besides, there’s enough dirt out there already to sink any administration. Although cowed at the start of the administration, the mainstream media have done a fairly good job since.

Sure, when the terrorist czar came in front of Congress and admitted that President Bush silenced an investigation of the NSA warrants, it was of no value. When Congress actually asked for materials, such as memos involving treating detainees, none came out. And, anyway, the MSM is doing a "fairly good" job. More or less. Give or take.

Why should Congress, especially one that would have be elected out of anger and despair at the current situation, do its job? It might seem ... partisan. Wah wah! He's scared even before they get there. Shades of Kenny Rogers at Yankee Stadium all over again.
Moreover, Bush is the wrong target. His popularity could hardly be lower than it is already, which means 2008 Republican candidates in all but the reddest of red states will distance themselves from this White House.

The target would not be Bush alone but loads of aspects of his administration.

Finally, you and your colleagues have spent the last six years whining and complaining. That was understandable.

"Whining?" Is this what it is when Conyers investigates and determines there is repeated examples of how BushCo broke the law? How he lied us into war? It's "whining?" Get lost, you f-ing schmuck.
Here’s a better way to go. Use the two years instead to lay the groundwork for a new Democratic agenda. Bring in expert witnesses. Put new ideas on the table. Frame the central issues boldly. Don’t get caught up in arid policy-wonkdom.

You know, like him. After all, it's not like you can investigate and put new ideas on the table. And, hey, what's two years of the Bush Administration continuing to f-up the nation? He's unpopular, right? Of course, he was unpopular in 2004 ... just popular enough to retain power. BTW, not noted, is that if the Dems controlled the House, the Republicans might very well control the Senate with a two or three vote margin. Narrow enough that the Dems might very well be able to get something out of the Congress, though Bush could very well just veto it.
And most important, be positive. Bush’s shameful record is plain. Start the new Democratic record. Help America dream again.

Be nice! Let them walk all over you! BTW, "dreaming" imho would include Congress serving as a strong check on executive overreaching. Go away, Rob.