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January 19, 2006

The Dems Are Blowing It Politics

Digby makes a convincing case that the Dems, by following in the Republicans' footsteps and coming out with their own "corruption reform" package, are blowing it. The Republicans have been operating a corrupt criminal enterprise. The solution lies in the criminal justice system, not in assorted changes to the rules in Congress. That should be the message. Excerpt:

By coming up with this "reform package" we [Democrats] have managed to make people think this is about reforming arcane congressional rules when it is actually about a bribery and protection racket. And that is exactly what the Republicans wanted us to do. After all, if it's only a matter of changing a few rules, they can do that themselves and just move along. [...]

The problem is that Democrats listen to conventional wisdom and bad strategists who all insist that you have to have a positive agenda or people will hate you. This is because when they do focus groups people always say they hate all the negativity and they just want politicians to tell us what they are going to do to fix things.

That is bullshit. People say that because they think that's what they are supposed to say. They don't know how much they are being manipulated by all the negative images and so they simply say they don't like them. It doesn't mean they don't respond to them. It's subliminal. The Democratic party needs to hire a top psychologist to explain this to them — or find a politician who has good instincts. [...]

The problem is that Reid and the rest of the Democratic party believed that they had to "offer a solution" because otherwise the public would think they are just being negative...But had they simply said, "this is way beyond lobbying reform. Republicans like Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff have been running a criminal enterprise out of the US congress," they could have framed the argument as Republican criminality instead of systemic problems that can be fixed with a few changes in the rules. [...]

[T]he Democrats have stepped on their own most potent argument — the Republicans are in charge and they are running a corrupt criminal enterprise out of the House and Senate. Even a Republican Justice department could not avert its eyes from the rampant criminality. Duke, DeLay, Abramoff, Rove, Libby, Safavian.... all of them and many more are either under indictment, pled guilty or remain under suspicion. This is not business as usual and the solution isn't another package of rules changes about who buys the pizza. [Emphasis added]

Have Washington Democrats been asleep for the past dozen years? Republicans impeached the President of the United States over a meaningless blowjob. They didn't worry about sounding negative. They hammered home the same basic message for years on end: Clinton is a liar and a cheat. And it worked for them. Just think if Clinton had actually been guilty of one-tenth of what the Republicans have been doing.

Maybe some Democrats think that playing hardball makes them no better than Republicans. Well, guess what. Duke, DeLay, Abramoff, Rove, Libby, Safavian, et al — unlike Clinton — are up to their eyeballs in serious crimes that need to be prosecuted. It's not some phoney Ken Starr witchhunt. And if they can do this kind of stuff and emerge with just a few minor bruises, then it's game over. The Democratic Party may just as well go out of business.

Posted by Jonathan at January 19, 2006 08:13 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


The Democratic Party may just as well go out of business.

Perhaps that is EXACTLY the threat that needs to happen. Check-writing members of the democratic establisment need to start sending their checks to Green, Libertarians, 'the progressive party' - in short some group who don't look or act like "The other guys".

A jaded view is the Democrats aren't pushing because more than a few members would like to be skimming at the till when they are back "in power". Thus, no desire to change the corruption framework.

Posted by: eric blair at January 19, 2006 09:40 PM