Monday, October 02, 2006



In today's Washington Post Englishman Sebastian Mallaby brings up a painful point for progressives: the Democrats are a party with no principles. "After years of single-party government, the prospect of a Democratic majority in the House ought to feel refreshing. But even with Republicans collapsing in a pile of sexual sleaze, I just can't get excited. Most Democrats in Congress seem bereft of ideas or the courage to stand up for them. They clearly want power, but they have no principles to guide their use of it."

Even though, in the end, Mallaby's piece is nothing more than a garden variety Chamber of Commerce-variety attack on Social Security-- ironically, whose defense is the best example of the manifestation of principle that the inside the Beltway Democrats do consistently manager to muster-- there are some points worth looking at.

First of all, the obvious. Legislative political caucuses are made up of individuals, primarily concerned with their careers projectiles. I actually used to feel sorry for the pre-Gingrich congressional Republicans. They were always floundering around ineffectively, sort of like the congressional Democrats have in the past decade. The Democrats were the "natural congressional leaders" for most of my life. The Republicans seemed weak, confused... silly. With no president to lead them-- and Clinton was far too off-balance with the Republican-manufactured scandals to be an effective party leader-- the congressional Democrats have been tugged in a million directions by a crazy-quilt coalition and by regal egos of fools and knaves like Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman, Rahm Emanuel, Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer...

The second problem with Mallaby's article is that if the congressional Democrats don't display enough adherence to principle-- an assertion you won't find me disagreeing with-- what about the alternative? Unless you mean hatred, bigotry, religionist intolerance, xenophobia, homophobia, and infantile imperialistic pretensions, what exactly are the Republican Party's guiding principles these days? The claptrap about small government? Can anyone with two functioning brain cells to rub together still listen to that bullshit without puking? Budgetary discipline? Taxes are gigantically higher for the poor and middle class-- even Bush admits that the devastating rise in gas prices overseen by his Regime are "taxes"-- and lower for the wealthy. The budget is in the worst shape in contemporary history and Bush is certainly the worst steward of the economy at least since the Great Depression. And what's the other thing they're supposed to stand for? Oh, yeah: a strong military. The bumbling, incompetent Bush Regime and his rubber stamp Congress have utterly destroyed the incredible military machine handed over by Clinton. Ideology and harebrained theories, wedded to a distrust of science and reality, have utterly wrecked any claims anyone could make about the GOP having something to do with principles beyond "I'll get mine and screw the rest of you." Nice try, Mallaby, but no one's buying this crap any more.

There is a bipartisan problem of principles, primarily due to the financial underpinings of our political system. Principles are easily discarded when the dominant feature of one's career well-being is a form or legalized bribery. Hopefully Democrats will take over the House in November, the Senate and Executive is 2008 and overcome the objections from corrupt Republicans and every-bit-as-corrupt DLC monstosities to pass John Tierney's campaign finance bill. After that a reasonable discussion of principles can ensue.

Meanwhile, a foreigner, like Mallaby, might not pick up on subtle signals from American voters that a major shift is underway. Here's a self-described conservative Republican who announced today what he thinks the GOP should do with their "principles" and why.


At 9:25 PM, Blogger Dave Johnson said...

Unfortunately what I'm seeing on the right-wing blogs is a shift to the right. If might let the Dems take the House if lots of right-wingers don't vote, but I fear that there is a LOT of work needed to turn around 30 years of unanswered right-wing propaganda and convince people that progressive values are better for them. A LOT.

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
---Gerald Ford


Post a Comment

<< Home