Monday, November 06, 2006

Not A Time For Complacency

U.S. Democrats appear on smooth campaign ride

By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats, who have been known to bungle golden political opportunities, are holding their breath. With just days to go before voters could hand them control of the U.S. Congress, their ride has been relatively smooth.

Instead of shooting themselves in the foot, they have sat back and watched President George W. Bush's Republicans do the self destructing, dragged down by influence-peddling and sex scandals, the Iraq war and a slow response last year to Hurricane Katrina.

Democrats, by comparison, have sustained few self-inflicted wounds and suffered only a minor scrape last week with Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke" about Iraq.
The wheels may be falling off the GOP bandwagon, and indeed, even if they manage to eke out wins in both the Senate and House, they will be largely crippled in efforts to railroad legislation through the Democrats plus whatever moderate Republicans may jump ship of a lame duck President who's sure to screw up even more in the next two years, plus projected 2008 Senate races that will make this year look like fluff for the Republicans (including Liddy "The Joker" Dole (NC), Lamar! Alexander (TN), and Norm Coleman (MN), Wayne Allard (CO), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Susan Collins (ME), with possible races for open seats due to the retirement of Arlen Specter (PA), and Jim Bunning (KY)).

So anyway you slice it, even if you take the most ridiculous GOP projections...the Joker on Meet The Press yesterday actually suggested that the GOP would sweep the seven contested Senate elections AND pick up two Democratic seats...will show a severly crippled Republican congress, and far more likely, a split legislative branch (although I hold out hopes for the Senate. I believe the House is pretty much captured. People tend to vote emotionally for the House and intellectually for the Senate...something about gravitas....).

Even the McLaughlin Group, which, despite the inclusion of two diehard liberals and one liberal leaning moderate (Eleanor Clift, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Clarence Page, respectively), gives the Senate and the House to the Dems by a 4-1 and 3-2 majorities of five panelists.

I like that Pelosi has come out with a "First Hundred Hours" agenda, and support that concept. "Draining the GOP Swamp" is how it's been termed. So long as a) she keeps to it, which she should and b) it's not the same lip service that the GOP paid to the Contract On America.

That little flimflammery of political theatre, the COA and how the GOP made it DOA ASAP upon taking over the Congress, may have been the best thing to happen to the average American since Medicare. For one thing, the Contract as proposed would have devastated the American public, cutting services just ahead of the most troubled time the nation has ever known, the Bush presidency. Second, it showed middle American moderate voters that the Republicans were no more interested in them than the more corrupt Democrats in Congress. And finally, it destroyed Republican credibility as a party of responsibility and "morality", starting with Newt's temper tantrums, through the Livingston resignation, and on down to Denny Hastert's live-in, um, roommate, as well as his inability to police his own troops for pedophilia.

There's a lot at stake in this election, a lot more than usual. We need to get the vote out, even if you think your local election is a "safe" bet for progress and change. It's really important to make sure that Democrats win as many elections as possible, even if it means taking a gargantuan bite out of the Republican minority in Congress. We have to fix this country, and take it back for ourselves, for our children and for our freedom.