Me to my kids this morning: “The Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives, and probably the Senate. So we control the Congress, and if we want to hold hearings into what Bush is doing, the Republicans can’t stop us.”
My 12 year old daughter: “Now it just depends on whether they’re chicken or not chicken.”
My daughter, unlike 99.99999% of the folks inside the Beltway (specifically leaving only Howard Dean), gets the real issue: are the “Democrats” we just elected chicken, or not?
I’m not celebrating much today; I’m gearing up for the real battle, which is over the soul (and electoral future) of the Democratic Party, a battle that will culminate in 2008. Since the inception of this site, I’ve said that I want the Dems to regain control of the Congress if, and only if, they’re prepared to govern in an assertive, cohesive, ideologically sound, progressive manner. To regain the majority then govern like a bunch of finger-in-the-wind, triangulating, poll-watching pols will just convince the voters that we haven’t changed, and could cost us the whole shebang in 2008 -- setting us back another 12 years. But to regain the majority and govern like adults (or like my 12 year old daughter), why, that might actually be good for both the party and the country as a whole.
There’s no chicken in Vichyssoise, but there is chicken stock. And there is plenty of chicken stock in this Congress, from the undead Joe Lieberman to the Bush-loving Henry Cuellar to the triangulator-in-chief, Hillary Clinton, and her acolytes, like Rahm Emanuel. And, of course, no one can stop the 2008 Presidential wannabes from watching the polls, officially starting today. So what we’re all watching is whether the rest of this Congress has learned its lesson and actually governs, instead of triangulating.
Let me say that again: do these people understand that we elected them to GOVERN, not to TRIANGULATE? If they get it, they’ll be respected (and reelected). If they don’t get it, then we’ll have a few hearings -- God bless John Conyers! -- but the corporations will continue to run the show, and there won’t be much difference in the end. Or: if they govern, they’ll be allowed to continue to govern. If they stick their index fingers into the wind, on the other hand, the voters in 2008 are likely to reply like the English archers at Agincourt: by sticking their middle fingers into the wind right back at them.
Put still differently: we were elected only because we’re NOT Republicans. But starting today, the test is different. Being “not a Republican” isn’t a governing philosophy. We’ll only be respected, and reelected, if we govern like Democrats.
More analysis later, especially of “winners and losers.”
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