Back To The Future?

Hotline asks if we’re in for a replay of the 2002 elections. I think we are.

The Democrats have once again fallen to what appears to be some typically Rovian political jujitsu. As Noemie Emery points out, the Democrats have once again shot themselves in the foot on national security:

Bush now has three gifts: (l) he has an out, in case there’s another attack on the homeland (he tried, but his hands were tied by the Times and the Democrats); (2) he has still more sound bites–“We killed the Patriot Act!”–to add the pile that he had already, and (3), he has the chance to draw still more distinctions between the party of force and of public security; and the party that nitpicks, that is too legalistic, and that somehow always gives the benefit of the doubt to the criminal and/or the accused. In a showdown like this, put your cash on the party of force and security. Willie Horton was not a play on the race card, but a metaphor for the larger use-of-force issue. Does anyone doubt that if Dukakis were president when Saddam Hussein crossed the border, Kuwait and perhaps Saudi Arabia would be permanent parts of Iraq? Remember the Homeland Security Act in the 2002 midterms?

I think 2006 could very well be a return of 2002, not because of the strength of the Republicans, but on the utter fecklessness of the Democrats on the national security issue. It seems quite unlikely that the vast majority of Americans are going to look at the President wiretapping calls between US residents and already identified al-Qaeda terrorists as particularly bothersome. The Democrats may have adopted the Paranoid Style in American Politics, but the American people have not.

Once again, if 2006 comes down to national security like 2002 and 2004 did, the Democrats lose a third time. And what are the Democrats doing? Constantly putting national security as the primary political topic. It’s like Anna Nicole Smith at an all-you-cat eat buffet, they just can’t help themselves.

Of course, that’s exactly what Karl Rove would want them to do. By focusing in on this wiretap issue, the Democrats are basically saying that they would rather force anti-terrorist agencies to work with one hand tied behind their backs by having to go through the lengthy and cumbersome FISA process to gather vital intelligence. They’re forced to argue that a policy that had been in place for the Carter, Reagan, and Clinton Administrations wasn’t a terrible affront to civil liberties when used against drug runners and Mafioso, but in the current Administration the same techniques applied to al-Qaeda suddenly represents the fall of the Republic. Once again, the Democrats keep cementing the idea that they’re the party of weakness who would treat terrorists with kid gloves.

If the Democrats were smart, they’d state that they would gladly work with the President to pass an amendment to FISA to provide proper judicial review without harming the investigation. They’d stand up and say they fully believe that our intelligence agencies should have every appropriate tool to fight terrorism within the law – and then quickly change the subject to Bush’s flagging domestic agenda.

But because the Democratic Party has the self-control of a pitbull on PCP, they had to launch into rants and bromides, and apparently they’re already plotting on articles of impeachment for the President – proving once again that the worst political enemy the Democratic Party has is the Democratic Party.

5 thoughts on “Back To The Future?

  1. Before you and Dick Cheney get too far ahead of yourself prophesizing about the “backlash against Democrats” that will come from Bush’s latest act of gratuitous criminality, it might be wise to wait for the next round of public opinion polls. Aside from the dwindling pool of people like yourself who are more committed to Bush’s approval rating ascendancy than the rule of law, I’m hearing nothing but scathing contempt for Wiretap-gate. It’s hard to predict how this will play among NASCAR dads, but it’s becoming clear that every educated person who recognizes the necessity of operating within the law is scared shitless of Bush behaving like he’s the leader of a military dictatorship rather than the President of the United States. Underestimate the outrage of the educated (on both the left and right) at your own peril. This has the potential to become a ruinous problem for Bush.

    As for 2006 being a replay of 2002, I suppose anything’s possible, but it all depends upon your party’s same old parlor tricks working again. Even if Congressional Democrats robotically cling to a single policy for Iraq, they are still enslaved to whatever policy the executive branch chooses to pursue. Whether the Democrats organize in collective opposition to Bush’s Iraq policy or wander aimlessly as they are doing now, they are in no position to tell the American people that they will be able to change Iraq policy if elected a majority. Republicans such as yourself like to pretend that a unified Democratic opposition to Iraq policy would be more formidable than the current disjointed piecemeal, which ultimately makes your side look weak since it’s suggesting that a solid anti-war organization of Democrats would be better positioned to force Bush into changing his ways. Kind of a hard argument to make while simultaneously saying that Bush will be unwavering in “staying the course” no matter what the consequences. Bottom line: the Democrats unifying around any single Iraq strategy accomplishes nothing for them even if they take control of Congress.

    The more ominous message in your post in the almost gleeful invitation for terrorists to attack America, allowing you to blame Democrats because they called Bush on his illegal wiretap efforts. Certainly this administration is capable of staging a bloody terrorist attack for partisan advantage, and given that the only way Republicans can win elections is for Americans to be the victims of terrorists, ensuring that another terrorist attack takes place is certainly your party’s best strategy for maintaining control of Congress next year.

  2. Mark, if you want to believe it was “parlor tricks” that put Republicans in charge of the executive and legislative branches of our government, be my guest. But a bit of historical perspective suggest that Jay’s original post is right on target: Democrats are out of power because Americans simply do not trust them to defend the nation.

    It has in fact been almost a 40-year backlash against Democrats.

    Consider the fact that prior to the year 1968, Democrats won seven of nine presidential races going back to the onset of the Great Depression, and during those same years had a near total lock on both houses of Congress and on most state legislatures and state houses. And after the year 1968, Republicans have won seven of ten presidential races, now control both houses of congress, and most state governments.

    And you know what happened in 1968. That’s the year the anti-war crowd took over the Democratic party and began its steady march leftward. Today the core of the Democratic party are the aging members of the counter-culture, whose basic political and social outlook requires a critical and often hostile assessment of our country. These are the folks who have spent the last 35 years using the phrase “flag waver” as an insult, but who bridle lest anyone question their patriotism. But the country has rejected that view.

    Americans are at heart a practical and commonsense people. Most still love their country, and when it is threatened, want it defended. That, Mark, is why Republicans win elections. And it’s why people like you lose them.

    Kinda gets you really, really angry, doesn’t it?

  3. Jon writes: Mark, if you want to believe it was “parlor tricks” that put Republicans in charge of the executive and legislative branches of our government, be my guest.

    Yes, it was parlour tricks. You need to look no further than the criminal redistricting process in Texas that had one purpose and one purpose only – to force a greater republican majority in the House of Representatives at the expense of rational representation of the population. The districts are redrawn every 10 years to reflect population changes in the areas being represented. The GOP took this opportunity to warp this process to their advantage, drawing absolutely ridiculous maps to ensure more seats were available to continue their Culture of Corruption.

    No sane person can look at this eggregious example of power run amok, and say, with a clear conscience, that the Republican party is in power in part due to their constant behind the scenes power brokering and immoral parlour tricks.

  4. DPS do youreally think that Gerrymandering is a Republican phenom. I thinks its been going on for decades now by which ever party is in power at the time of resdistiricting. And since since redistricting is a political process it will have a , gasp, political solution. That means Democrats do it as well, in fact Democrats do it the best. Gerrymandering isn’t the only “pallor trick” for incumbent politicans whether Repub or Dem, there’s McCain Feingold, the power of the incumbent (financial, access, communication)etc, etc, incumbents have many many advantages. If not,how would an A$$ like Cynthia McKinney keep get elected from a blue state like Georgia ? Mainly because her district is drawn like a tortured piece of silly puddy. But she isn’t the only example of Gerrymandering, if you look at the entire NE its a joke. In fact the entire country with few exceptions is Gerrymandered..

  5. Ray M, Cynthia McKinney’s district isn’t exactly gerrymandered. Most of her district is in DeKalb County, which last year went for John Kerry by a 73-27 margin.

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