Wankers Of The Day

2 comments March 12th, 2007at 07:49am Posted by Eli

Samuel Popkin and Henry Kim in yesterday’s WaPo explain why the Democratic sweep in 2006 was good for Republicans, and generously offer the Democrats some helpful “advice”:

The Democrats’ road to the White House in 2008 runs through Congress, and it is uphill all the way. The last time either party captured the White House two years after wresting control of both House and Senate in midterm elections was in 1920. Democrats who think that it is their turn to expand their pet programs and please their core constituencies have forgotten how quickly congressional heavy-handedness can revive the president’s party.

Nice. They start out with a statistical argument that ignores the utter rock-bottom awfulness of this administration, then warn the Democrats to sit down and shut up if they know what’s good for ’em.

Presidents and their parties recover after midterm wipeouts because, as Clinton had to remind people in 1995, “The Constitution makes me relevant.”

The president’s party begins to recover when he wields his veto pen — especially if he can establish his relevance as a defender of the center against the other party’s excesses.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! If you needed any proof that these guys are not serious, that was it right there. Unfortunately, they’re not done.

Each time since 1948 that one party has retaken one or more houses of Congress and then two years later lost the race for the White House, that party has scapegoated its candidate for the party’s sins. But in each case, the congressional party placed onerous burdens on the candidates. Would Truman have won without the “do-nothing Congress” to run against in 1948? Would anyone have known about the Dukakis-Willie Horton episode if the congressional Democrats had produced a defensible record on crime in 1988? Or if Democrats hadn’t pushed for a welfare bill that looked “soft on work,” would “tax and spend” have been such a powerful epithet in 1988?

he 2008 Democratic nominee is likely to be a current or former senator. That makes the legislative record of the next two years even more important to winning the White House. No clever slogans can help a candidate overcome legislative excess and partisan overkill.

Democrats cannot overplay their hand the way Republicans did in 1995 after taking both houses and Democrats did in 1987 after taking the Senate. To win the presidency, Democrats must use their control of the legislative agenda to keep Republicans divided and build a unifying record for 2008.

Now we get into specific recommendations. This one is my favorite:

o Use hearings to restore confidence in government, not to attack Republicans.

Democrats can now use hearings to expose sweetheart deals in Iraq and the Department of Homeland Security, hordes of incompetent appointees, the role of Halliburton and other favored beneficiaries of “privatization” policies, drug prices and Vice President Cheney’s energy task force.

They can bottle up extreme judicial nominees and they can publicize regulatory misdeeds. But such rebuffs of Republican excess will not demonstrate that Democrats can govern competently.

Too much emphasis on the negative makes Democrats look as though they care more about bringing down the GOP than making government serve ordinary people. And investigations without solutions risk generating an indictment of government itself. According to the Democracy Corps Poll last month, Americans consider government waste and inefficiency a bigger problem than they do misplaced spending priorities or the wealthy not paying enough taxes. If Democrats want to create new programs for health or education, they must convince people that they are restoring the basic competence of government.

How do you expose incompetent officials, second-rate appointments and poorly armed troops, then ask everyone to trust the same government to provide health care at a lower cost than in the current system? If everything Bush and Karl Rove touch has turned to dross, why throw good money after bad? Nothing will hurt the GOP more than a Democratic Party that fixes government, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the broken military hospital system.

Yes, God forbid that the Democrats should try to shine a light on six years of Republican criminality. It would just make people distrust the government and make the Democrats look like big ol’ meanies who don’t know how to govern. I agree that the Democrats should have a plan to fix what Bush and the Republicans have broken, but that’s no reason not to hold anyone accountable.

Popkin and Kim also issue some dire warnings against becoming captive to single-issue fanatics like those freaks who want us out of Iraq (you know, the ones who make up 65-70% of the population), or trying to redeploy the savings from ending the war to domestic programs (that would show they’re weak on defense!).

Their final two bullet points are about how insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare are good, but welfare is bad, as is any kind of insurance program where rich people don’t get more benefits than everyone else. (Um, can’t they afford supplemental insurance if the free government insurance isn’t enough for them? It’s not like the Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance…) They recommend advocating some kind of government subsidies of the uninsured instead of “one-size-fits-all” government health insurance for everybody.

I agree with them that the Democrats should force Bush into the position of vetoing popular legislation, but I’m just not buying their definition of popular. The whole thing reads like a DLC hit piece, or one of those Brooks or Novak columns where they offer Democrats free advice out of the goodness of their black little hearts.

The fundamental problem with the column is that Popkim completely ignore the message of the 2006 elections. They were an expression of voter disgust, anger, and frustration over six years of corruption, incompetence, lies, depravity, and disastrous war without end. Anyone who suggests that the Democrats should go easy on the administration for fear of backlash hasn’t been paying attention. The backlash is what will happen if the Democrats don’t attack. It’s what they were voted in for.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics,Wankers


  • 1. Glenn  |  March 12th, 2007 at 9:29 am

    That article is jaw-droppingly funny in spite of its blatant offensiveness and its historical disregard of its own “recommendations”.

    Now let’s hope the Dems in DC don’t fall for it.

  • 2. Eli  |  March 12th, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Fall for it? Hell, they probably *commissioned* it.

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