Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Happy Blue Day!

If you’re a Democrat, a progressive, or just a regular person without a label who thinks the country should be run in a fair and equitable manner for all, Monday was a pretty good day to read the newspapers.

Charles Babington at the “Washington Post” wrote an analysis regarding the Democrats’ unexpected cohesiveness in Congress.

“They have,” he wrote, “stymied [(p)]resident Bush’s Social Security plan and held fast against judicial nominees they consider unqualified. To protest a GOP rules change, they have kept the House ethics committee from meeting. And they have slowed – and possibly derailed – Bush’s nomination of John R. Bolton to become ambassador to the United Nations.”

Okay, so we’re not talking about universal health care, withdrawal from Iraq, and a new tax bracket for price-gouging oil companies. Still, Bush is an arrogant re-elect spending his “political capital” pushing judges already once rejected, and foisting an arrogant and abusive man (Bolton) on what is a diplomatic entity, and he needs to be stopped by the opposition.

Of course, Bush has no capital, he just lives in capital’s bubble where nothing he does is wrong and everybody must needs applaud at all times. And if he keeps spending on stupid notions and bad nominees, he’s going to go broke very shortly.

What really happened is that the machinery that coalesced around Kerry in 2004 (or against Bush as many would have it) is in place and well-oiled.

By contrast, after years of shucking and jiving, the Republicans are being forced to make good in their devil’s deal with the Christian right.

And it’s exploding in their faces.

Babington writes that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Harry Reid promoted solidarity among Democrats and reassured their respective caucuses that the (r)epublicans were “overplaying their hand.”

Translation: the (r)epublicans didn’t win as much, or by as much, as they and media claimed in November.

The famous political scientist at Rutgers, Ross Baker, is quoted in the article as saying, “I think after an extended period of reconsideration and soul-searching [following the 2004 elections], the Democrats have decided they’re going to fight back. The sense that they were cowed was very widespread, but I think they just realized what they suffered was a defeat, not a humiliation.”


“The Post” also released a poll, the results of which are that folks line up 2 to 1 against the idea of eliminating the filibuster.

Dan Balz and Richard Morin wrote the piece which says, in part, “Even many Republicans were reluctant to abandon current Senate confirmation procedures: Nearly half opposed any rule changes, joining eight in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 political independents.”

The 60-day “blitz” to sell the privatization of Social Security is moving backwards and “the poll also registered a drop in key Bush performance ratings.”

Such phenomena are oft-times, though not always, tied to key drops in performance.

The poll also has bad news for Tom Delay who, unlike Don Rumsfeld, probably won’t shake the tail of reporters, pols and plain ‘ol people who want him out of Washington. Stay tuned.

And if that weren’t enough to make the morning coffee go down a little easier, The “L.A. Times.” penned an editorial called “A Blue Tinge in the West” highlighting “a changing Western political identity and independence,” observing that, “[t]he social conservatism that keeps the South red may not be enough for the West. Old-fashioned individual liberty and Democratic populism are getting a hearing.”

The editorial notes that the West is “bulking up” population-wise with refugees from the cold and “blue” Northeast and Midwest, as well as from Golden, but overpriced, California.

And speaking of California, “The Times” also ran an article, nicely done by Mark Barabak and Robert Salladay, about how “Nurses, firefighters – even widows – have put[Governor Schwarzenegger] on the defensive and his agenda in disarray.”

They write that while Schwarzenegger was humping it around the state saying his opponents were “hanging” and doing nothing, what they were in fact up to was molding a tightly knit coalition for the purpose of screwing him and screwing him good.

Their idea was to put a human face to the “special interests” Schwarzenegger rumbles on ad nauseam about, using nurses, teachers, and firefighters.

The trick was double-edged from what the scribe can see. Not only do you attack a dishonest and unqualified governor, you actually define who it is you are, what you do, and why you get taxpayers’ money.

According to the article, “The effort worked far better than either side anticipated, according to dozens of interviews reconstructing the turn of events. In just a few months, Schwarzenegger has gone from seeming invincibility to a politically precarious state, his approval ratings sagging and his staff plagued by internal scuffles. He has abandoned key parts of his reform agenda and signaled his eagerness to bargain on others.”

Schwarzenegger wanted to crack the last nut of post-war prosperity in going after public employees, their job guarantees, and their benefits. George Will predicted the “transformative” governor’s success would roll across the country.

Well it’s not for now, and it won’t. And while the scribe doesn’t want to beat on a dead horse, pull that carcass up here...

...the trade union is the most effective way (to date) of pooling your work with those of others in an effort to match the might of those more powerful and less friendly to your interests (than you).

The writers say Democratic efforts have been boosted by the “political allies, particularly the well-funded public employee unions.”

All of which is about time.

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