Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Destroying Incipient Myths about Last Night

"The Democrats who won have one thing in common -- aggressive and unapologetic opposition to what the Republicans have become."

Glenn's right: this win signals that the voters have had enough with the old ruling party. This was not a win for mealy-mouthed centrism. There will not be some kind of non-confrontational kum-bah-yah session where everyone sits down with Bush and agrees that all we need to do to fix Iraq is replace Rumsfeld.

First of all, how are Democrats supposedly going to "work with" a President who has steadfastly refused to work with them? Who has questioned the patriotism of anyone willing to question his wars? Who has said if the Democrats win, America loses? Who has refused to even inform Congress of his spying programs that violate federal law? Who has long since abandoned any vestiges of bipartisonship in favor of Grover Norquist's theory that it is a form of "date rape"?

Tom Delay has as much as dared the new 110th Congress to investigate his 109th: “My only answer to that,” DeLay replied, “is make my day.” (Here's a handy rundown of 109 of the 109th Congress' misdeeds). Cheney has already vowed not to appear if he is subpoenaed for testimony.

There is no evidence that voters do not want aggressive oversight of Bush's failures and the Republican scandals such as the constitutional oversteps on domestic spying and legalized torture, the destruction of habeas corpus, the rampant corruption, the unchecked war profiteering, the K Street Project, the Medicare donut, universal healthcare, energy independence, the never-investigated ethics violations, the failure to raise the minimum wage, etc. etc.

For that matter, who, exactly, was behind the forged Niger documents that helped drag us into the war? What about the promised-but-never-undertaken Phase 2 of the pre-war Iraq intelligence investigation--the one investigating how the "flawed" intelligence was used? And now that we're there in Iraq, how do we get out without making matters even worse?

Exit poll after exit poll show that voters are worried about Iraq and they are worried about corruption. These were the issues driving people to vote. Problems like these are not fixed without aggressive hearings to look into them. These are not issues that can be fixed without hurting the feelings of or embarrassing the people who made them problems in the first place. There isn't a polite way of uncovering your colleagues' corruption or the corruption of their campaign contributors.

The Republican Congress has been rightfully maligned and rejected for failing to provide any checks on the idiocy and criminal acts (see: warrantless domestic wiretapping and data-mining) of the Bush Administration. Why would voters who just voted them out of office be expecting the new Democratic Congress to just quietly go along with the status quo? Among other things, voters want the Democrats to start doing what the Republicans largely gave up on--supervising the President.

And yet here we have Rahm Emanuel in the Washington Post, the day after a historic Democratic victory, lowering expectations, and stabbing ranking House members in the back as being "too liberal":
In private talks before the election, Emanuel and other top Democrats told their members they cannot allow the party's liberal wing to dominate the agenda next year. Democrats will hold 30 or 35 seats that went for Bush in the past, meaning that Democratic candidates such as Brad Ellsworth in rural Indiana are likely to face competitive races again in 2008. Still, their interests are likely to collide with those of veteran liberals such as Reps. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.) and John Conyers Jr., (Mich.), who will chair committees.
Where does Rahm get off criticizing Charlie Rangel and Henry Waxman before they even sit down in their new committee chairmanships? Until yesterday, Rahm couldn't condemn DNC Chair Howard Dean or his 50-State Strategy quickly enough--the very strategy that got them where they are today. The meme then was that Dean and the liberal bloggers were wasting money on unwinnable races. Now, with those "unwinnable" races won, we are to believe that it's because America is not interested in the changes promised by the winners?

And the spin that this was a win for "moderates" simply because pro-war Lieberman and pro-life Casey won ignores substantial evidence that voters were rejecting moderates with Rs after their name. Democratic challengers sweep into House seats in districts that everybody but Howard Dean and progressive-minded internet bloggers had largely written off only a few weeks ago. Lincoln Chafee, the ultimate Republican moderate--lost. DeWine, a so-called GOP moderate from a swing state--lost his Senate seat in a landslide to one of the most liberal voices from the House, Sherrod Brown. The entire northeast has turned a deep, deep blue. A socialist just won a Senate seat in Vermont.

The culture of corruption, the lies and false assurances about Iraq, the pro-torture pronouncements from what are supposed to be leaders of the country... all of this was rejected, and in dramatic fashion.

This was an unprecedented shut out. There is no spinning that away.

Look at the results: the Republicans failed to pick up a single governorship or a single House or Senate seat. That has never happened before. Look at the results: 32 million Americans voted for Democratic Senate candidates, while only 24 million voted for Republicans. That's over a 13% margin of victory!

Bush, for once, will be the one who will have to compromise.


Markos destroys the myth about just how "conservative" the new Democrats are. Obviously they are "moderate" or "conservative" in comparison the wild-eyed right-wing fringe that has been operating unimpeded for the last six years, but they are hardly "conservatives" as that term has come to be known. Ezra Klein has more on this topic. More from Dave Neiwert. More from Mimikatz at the Next Hurrah.

Rick Perlstein of TNR credits the "netroots" and blogs for the victories before Rahm Emanuel.

Second Update:

Digby takes to the issue too:
. . . Democrats come back into the majority in the House with a huge, decisive victory and the Senate is poised to tip as well and the press seems to be interpreting this election as a .... repudiation of the soft and squishy hated liberals. (Again, they are taking their cues from Rush Limbaugh who is also spinning the election as a loss for liberals.) The narrative is suspended in amber.

It's wrong, of course, just as the earlier one was. This election proves that the Democrats are the mainstream political party. We just elected a socialist from Vermont and a former Reagan official from Virginia to the US Senate. We elected a number of Red State conservatives, true, but we are also going to have a Speaker of the House from San Francisco. We cover a broad swathe, ranging from sea to shining sea with only the most conservative old south remaining firmly in the hands of the Republican party. The idea that this is some sort of affirmation of conservatism is laughable. It's an affirmation of mainstream American values and a rejection of the Republican radicalism this country has been in the grips of for the last 12 years.

And I'm sorry to have to inform all the kewl kidz and insiders, but this is largely due to the re-emergence of an active, vital, progressive base. Despite the fact that we aren't goosestepping around shouting about our Victory For The Homeland the way the Gingrich Juden did in 1994, a revolution --- not of ideology, but necessity --- is underway

. . .

And regardless of our pragmatism, make no mistake: real fighting progressives are once again active players in this game, coming in with money and energy and ideas. As Perlstein's piece shows, this new group of energized progressives are not children, 60's hippies or fools. We are not asking for a seat at the table. We're not begging for a voice. Neither are we crazed ideological revolutionaries in the Gingrichian mold. We're simply progressive American citizens who are taking our seat and demanding our say after 12 long years of being shunted aside as if we have no place in this party or this country.
There's quite a bit more here.


Blogger said...

You are so right.

Do you eat sheep?

5:48 PM, November 08, 2006  

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