"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sharpening Up the National Razor

I'm wary of claims that one's own side is inherently more virtuous than their opponents. Some of my friends on the left are confident that the conduct of the people's business will be more civil under the Democrats. Just because Democrats and liberals are better human beings, y'know.

I allowed that the batch of Republicans who were just turned out did appear to be worse than the Democrats they themselves turned out, primarily (and exclusively, really, because they had a lot of gamesmanship in common) for the manipulation of the legislative process itself. Democrats were cordially uninvited to conference committees and reportedly sometimes the GOP didn't even give them copies of the bills they were supposed to vote on.

That's no good.

There may be another side to the story, however, altho I doubt it will be told in the media now. Democrats did misrepresent pending legislation to the press in attempts to build populist groundswell against it. So afterwhile the GOP said, screw that, we'll shut the bastards out completely.

I sympathize, but that's no way to run a democratic republic. And so, for this and many other sins, the GOP congressional majority was dumped, and few Republicans see that as unjust. I voted GOP this time around (no surprise there) only because I can't ever subscribe to the attitude that "things can't get any worse." I guess I've read too much history to believe that.


There are indications that aside from the Democrat half of The Gang of 14, there was a commitment on the Democrat side to pure obstructionism; certainly that was why Sen. McCain chided Sen. Obama when the latter caved in to pressure from his party and withdrew from a piece of joint legislation.

And if this is accurate:

Their sources claim that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), a six-term member of Congress, who has cooperated with Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, will be a priority target for Pelosi's iron-fist approach to leadership.

"Nancy Pelosi wants total party discipline," a source in the Democratic Party leadership told Insight.

"If you played ball with the Republicans during this session, then you're not going to be given an important chair in the next session," said the source.

Apparently it was possible to work with the GOP, then, although it seems retroactively punishable by death.

I once ran across a comparison of liberal and conservative group ratings that had Jane Harman as one of the most centrist members of congress. Whether this bunch of Democrats is any "better" than the GOPers they turned out is not certain. Even before they have the chance to spill some GOP blood, they seem bent on a bloodletting of their own first.

We don't know if the electorate, in its disgust over the eventual "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" conduct of the Republican Class of '94, put statesmen or Jacobins in their place. The early returns on our latest revolution indicate that the guillotine, or the "National Razor," as they sardonically called it in France some 200-odd years ago, waits in the wings, at least metaphorically.

Aw, Steny, we hardly knew ya. But you should have known, after 67 years on this good earth and 25 years in congress in service to the Democratic Party, that the Revolution has no friends, only enemies.

2 comments:

Matt Huisman said...

This Steny thing will be interesting. Everyone pulls together when you're in the minority, but party discipline does not exactly rank among the most inspirational rally cries of all time.

Hoyer's pitch will be that Pelosi is overreaching right from the start, and that it's now or never if you want to contain her. He's had a lot of time to gear up for this, so I give him a shot.

Still, Pelosi and Murtha have been beating out Hoyer for years, and the odds (and the money) are definitely in their favor.

Matt Huisman said...

Update: 149-86 Hoyer