Monday, December 04, 2006

The Accountability Congress

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Howard Dean, although he acts like one, is not a complete idiot. At least he has enough sense to state the obvious: “Democrats face a challenge defending their gains in the 2006 midterm elections because ‘now it's what we do and not what we say,’ national chairman Howard Dean recently told party leaders.” (Dean: Dems Must Work to Defend '06 Gains, By Will Lester, Associated Press Writer, Saturday, December 2, 2006 08 01 PM).

I don’t think the Democrats will be able to accomplish anything of significance, so what will they do with their brief two-year reign? They’ll investigate Republicans, paying particular attention to any opportunities Congress passed over to second-guess President Bush’s decisions.

Every day in every way we will hear about the warrantless National Security intercepts, rendition of terrorists, and minute by minute expositions of Guantanamo civil rights violations, including whether the unlawful combatants are illegally detained there because none were read their Miranda rights. Democrats will push to make the battleground of the war against terror into an extension of the courtroom.

Democrat calls for rapid redeployment of forces from Iraq will evaporate once they have to answer the follow-up questions about what happens next. Nothing will be said about my favorite Democrat proposal, impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney, which is really popular up here in Northern California. In fact, I wish I had the “Impeach Bush/Cheney” bumper sticker business here. I designed a bumper sticker myself: “Please Try To Impeach Bush/Cheney.”

I can’t think of anything that would give the Republicans a stronger recovery than the Democrats bringing Congress to a halt for six months or more with impeachment proceedings. I know that Northern California Democrats have brain impairment because of substance abuse, and probably can’t comprehend that there is no way 67 senators will vote to impeach, but it’s hard for me to understand how unimpaired Democrats could want it. For once in my life I wish for the same thing as Dennis Kucinich and the Berkeley wing of the Democrat Party.

What will the Republicans do while the Democrats are using their committee chairmanships to investigate the Bush presidency in exquisite detail? They will be reminding voters what the Democrats said they would do, and what they aren’t getting done.

Dick Morris (Helpless, Pitiful Democrats, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann,Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006 ) penned an excellent analysis of expected Democrat accomplishments and concluded they couldn’t do much . Mr. Morris’ first point was that President Bush wouldn’t even have to wield his veto pen to block Democrat-sponsored legislation. In the Senate, soon to be composed of 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, it will take 60 votes to pass anything of substance or significance.

Even with a Republican president, a Republican House, and a Senate of 55 Republicans and only 44 Democrats, the Republican agenda for Social Security reform, tax reform, appointment of federal judges, and even the appointment of an ambassador to the United Nations was stymied by Senate rules.

Given the realities of Senate rules and procedures, the Democrat’s legislative agenda is “dead aborning.” If they ever could get sixty votes to pass anything out of the Senate, then President Bush would get to exercise his veto pen, and then the numbers needed to overturn his veto are astronomical: 67 votes in the Senate, and 291 in the House. If the Democrats all voted to overturn, they would still need 16 Republicans in the Senate and 59 Republicans in the House to vote with them. Those are votes they get only in drug-inspired dreams.

The Democrats will find cohesion impossible when they control Congress. Already their prospective committee chairmen are indicating they will be more independent than the outgoing Republican chairmen. Since the new chairmen are from the Democrat’s farthest left wing, they will stifle any opportunities for the new class of moderate and even conservative Democrats to have any significant influence on legislation. When 2008 rolls around, the voters will realize that if they want moderate or conservative representation, they had better vote a Republican back in.

What will Democrats pass? An increase of the minimum wage perhaps, if they sweeten the pot for Republicans by making tax cuts permanent, or repealing the death tax. Maybe they will make deals with Republicans to make deductibility of college tuition permanent. Will voters really get excited about increasing the minimum wage and extending deductibility of college tuition?

Of course, the Democrats could prove they never learned anything in 1994 and try to bring Hillary Care back from the grave. Please.

However, the one the Democrats want most, the repeal or indexing of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), is going to require them to give President Bush most of what he wants in the budget and spending cuts. In essence, eliminating or reducing the AMT will scuttle Democrat pledges to put the budget on a pay-as-you-go basis. If something isn’t done soon to bring Blue State taxpayers relief from AMT, Democrats will be creating a lot of new rabid tax cut supporters.

Republicans, for their part, won’t mind at all helping Democrats make a huge tax cut. After all, cutting taxes is part of Republican DNA, but is an unnatural act for Democrats. Cutting or eliminating the AMT will displease more Democrats than it pleases, but the ones it pleases make campaign contributions and are more likely to vote.

After two years of left-wing posing and posturing, as the Democrat’s five-ring circus of Congressional Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, Progressive Caucus, New Democrats Caucus, and Blue Dog Democrats Caucus displays Democrat special interest politics at their dysfunctional worst, the country will be ready to vote Republicans back in. By then it will be clear the Democrats had no idea or plan to solve Iraq or the Middle East, and can’t help their taxing and spending ways. Once again Democrats will demonstrate that the only time they can agree is when Republicans are in power, and the only thing they can agree on is that Republicans are wrong.

American politics is a lot like football. The fans at football games always feel the best quarterback on the team is the one not playing, and they cheer for the back-up quarterback to get in the game. Then when he does, it usually becomes obvious why he wasn’t the starter.

Democrats convinced voters they should get a chance to play by just saying they would do things differently.

Only a month until “Kick Off,” and I’ve got a seat on the 50-yard line.

Please click on the label below to see all my articles on this topic.

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