Friday, May 25, 2007

Democratic inactivity

Kevin Drum in today’s Political Animal post has it, I think, precisely right when he says the following (in part) in response to the suggestion that Democrats should keep the death toll front and center in the anti-war discussion,

Substantively it's wrong because the death toll isn't the reason we should withdraw from Iraq. After all, if fighting in Iraq really were critical to our national security, we'd be willing to make the sacrifice in lives and treasure that we're making. The reason we should leave Iraq isn't because the war is costing lives, but because the war isn't critical to our national security.

There is more in that post that I also agree with quite strongly, and I suggest that you follow the link and have a read.

As part and parcel of that I think the Democrats need to be stressing the great disconnect between the Republican rhetoric and that same party’s call for effort. This is the “struggle for survival” upon which the future of our nation depends, but there is absolutely no “call to arms” by the Republican leadership. There is no call for young people to put on the uniform and fight, there is no call for industry to divert from manufacturing luxury goods to providing the troops with arms and armor, there is no call for citizens to buy “war bonds” or in any other way contribute to the war effort.

Congressional investigations

In another post, further down, he discusses the congressional investigations, and specifically the questioning of Monica Goodling. He raises a point that I have addressed several times, that these investigations are performances for political purposes and serve no real constructive purpose.

I have watched these shows on occasion, and have always found them to be nonsensical. Each committee member is given five minutes, which is not long enough to accomplish much of anything. The member reads from his/her list of prepared questions, all of which are more speeches than questions, and then does not listen to the answers. Time after time the person being questioned gives an answer than absolutely demands a follow-up question, and the questioner merely says something along the line of “Thank you” and moves on to the next prepared question/speech.

“Where did all of those millions of dollars go to?”
"Well, we were in the middle of a war, and it was difficult to get receipts."
"Oh, okay. Thank you."
Next question.

Status quo ante

Finally, during the 2006 elections I posted that I hoped the Democratic Party might take control of one or both houses of Congress but cautioned not to hope for too much in the way of change. That post reminded that our government is contaminated by moneyed interests and the self-interest of re-election and that Democrats are by no means immune to those diseases.

Sure enough, what we have so far is an increase in minimum wage accompanied by tax breaks for business, watered-down ethics reform, and a war in Iraq that has increased in intensity on the Democrat’s watch.

Status quo ante. Congressional self interest trumps national interest.

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