Tuesday, October 25, 2005

DNC: Does Not Change

One of the things that separates me from the neanderthals currently occupying the White House is that I view introspection and the ability to say, "I was wrong," as a great strength, not a weakness. After all, if you're driving a car and the road turns but you don't, you're going to have an accident. "I stayed the course!" won't look too good on the police report.

Sticking with the same metaphor, if you take a wrong turn, you'll get where you want to be a lot faster if you turn around.

So in that spirit, I may have been wrong.

A visit to the DNC website is a profoundly disheartening experience. What's at the top of the page? Tom DeLay's mugshot. Now, I, like a lot of other people, chortled over DeLay's arrest warrant. It's one thing for a private citizen to enjoy a corrupt politician's comeuppance, but it's another thing entirely -- a tacky, pathetic thing -- for the opposition party to put it at the top of their webpage.

In all fairness, Congressman DeLay has not yet been convicted. The arrest warrant and mugshot were merely legal formalities. (Click here for some really great mugshots, if you're into that sort of thing.) Democrats should not be celebrating DeLay's fall. They ought to be kicking themselves that they were so weak and so ineffectual that someone as corrupt and stupid as DeLay got as far as he did and stayed there so long. What we are seeing is self-destruction and certainly not anything we can take credit for.

The mugshot accompanies an article titled, "GOP Culture of Corruption Unraveling." Well, it does look that way, but the message is: Republicans are corrupt, so vote for us! Please. As Howard Dean said so often on the campaign trail, "We can do better."

I was attracted to Howard Dean because I felt he was speaking truth to power; getting out there and saying things that desperately needed to be said, and that in attacking Bush he wasn't being partisan, he was talking up truths that were so far away from the sugar-coated fantasies the White House was spinning they seemed to many Americans like crack-induced hallucinations. His verbal gaffes were refreshing, because they were raw and sincere, not buffed to a high-gloss by round after round of DC-spinmeisters and partisan message-mechanics.

So I was very optimistic when he took over the DNC, because I was convinced that in Dean we had a man who would really tackle the issues facing Americans today and that he would use his position and influence to do hard-hitting cost analysis of Bush's budgets to show that the President isn't doing what he says he's doing, that compassionate conservativism means apparently having a special empathy for corporations and college roommates.

But the flip side of that is offering an alternative. It's simply not enough to say, "Bush is wrong." It's not. We have to take Bush's budget figures, as one example, and line them up with a solid alternative proposition that says, "Here's what we want to do." I'm not seeing that anywhere.

There's also the text of a radio address on Iraq by former presidential candidate Wesley Clark. Now, here's a man who really ought to be speaking with authority on military operations. He asks the following questions: "How can we do a better job with less corruption in the reconstruction of Iraq? And, how can we make Iraq's neighbors a part of the solution, instead of a source of the problems inside Iraq?"

But he doesn't answer them.

As a person of faith, I am delighted that the Democratic leadership has taken notice that faith matters in this country; 60% of Democrats believe in God. But you know, it's not enough for there to be a link on the webpage for Howard Dean, a lapsed Episcopalian, to salute Yom Kippur. How about a guest article written by a Rabbi talking about how the values and sentiments expressed during the Jewish holiday of atonement translate into everyday life and how those messages can form a plan of action to make America better?

It gets worse. Click on the link for information about the Katrina recovery efforts. "Gulf Coast Needs Relief, Not a Right-Wing Agenda from Bush." Then it lists in paragraph after paragraph, everything that Republicans are doing wrong. "DNC Research has compiled some examples of right-wing policies President Bush is pushing that will hurt, not help, Gulf Coast residents recover and rebuild from Hurricane Katrina," says the story. Too bad they didn't compile any expert recommendations about how to do things better.

Congressional leadership in Washington contains some real kooks. I was appalled by Dianne Feinstein when she pleaded with stellar Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, "I'm trying to get your feelings as a man." Lady, the entire point of the proceedings is to determine that we get judges whose personal views are separate from their professional responsibilities.

Sitting around hoping to take credit for the imminent self-destruction of the current administration is not a winning strategy. The American people deserve better.


Matthew said...

The treatment of Delay lends credibility to the right wingers who denounce the entire DNC as the 'angry left'. The presumption of innocence is still there folks...

little-cicero said...

This seems like somewhat of a lazy post, in that you imply so much about the GOP's corruption without having any real information to support it. If you want the truth, treat this set of indictments as a crime investigation. You may have circumstancial evidence, but you lack solid evidence and there exists a motive on the side of the accusers: They know they can severely damage the GOP if they get a string of indictments and mugshotes in the news, whether the men are convicted or not. They know also that the Republican Senate has a rule that indictees cannot sit in leadership positions, so even with a fruitless indictment they would achieve their goal. The motives point to guilt...on the side of the accusers, not the accusees. Hopefully blogs and Fox News will balance this out so that indictments are not the end of the story in these cases.

Thunder Jones said...

I've shifted over to the Russ Feingold camp. I think he's my man err.... candidate for 2008.

Andy said...

LC, this post was not about GOP corruption, it was about Democratic impotence. In fact, it would even appear that I rushed to the defense [shudder] of Tom DeLay.

Also, no points for you for claiming, as irrelevant to the discussion as it is, that I've only got circumstantial evidence. You're supporting an administration that advocates locking people up in secret locations without due process of law based on allegations of "terrorism" for which the government claims it needs to provide no evidence citing "national security." Indefensible. If you're going to take the moral high ground, then I suggest you stay there and not do it selectively.

Jeff said...

there exists a motive on the side of the accusers:

The motives point to guilt...on the side of the accusers, not the accusees.

Except that the "accusers" don't matter. The one who matters here is Patrick Fitzgerald, who is the one who ultimately gets to decide about indictments, and nobody has ever said he's anything but fair. That includes Bush, who greatly praised him a few weeks ago.

little-cicero said...

I'm reffering to Ronnie Earl when I talk about bias prosecution.

But, to Andy, this is very relevant, because the DNC has not had one reasonable, proactive IDEA since the Clinton administration. They've shut down SS reform, demanded troop withdrawal and turned down nominees for the last few years. Now, their legacy is to become indictments to make the opposition look bad regardless of actual prosecution. It seems that this is a party in drag...Dragging us through the dirt.

The terrorists would recieve due process much faster if we used military tribunals, but the reality is, we must wait for other means of justice to take place. I don't know where you get this secret prison stuff! X-Files? Gitmo is hardly a secret prison.

I guess we agree that this is one messed up party (thanks to Howie Dean), and I hope it improves, for the sake of the Republic. Two strong parties are crucial in the US of A.

Andy said...

LC, you live in some bizarre little alternative reality. It must be very pleasant there.

In Ronnie Earle's long tenure, he has prosecuted 3 Republicans, and TWELEVE Democrats. So much for partisan witch-hunter. Also, all DeLay seems to be able to do is protest his innocence, and then do his damndest to get out of going to court...because he knows his balls are in a sling. Earle didn't indict him, a grand jury of DeLay's peers did. If Earle wanted to nail DeLay for purely partisan reasons and didn't really have evidence, he would have done it a long time ago...perhaps at a more politically expedient time, like right before the 04 elections.

Military tribunals do not strike me as anything resembling due process. Terrorists are not members of the military, they are civilian activists, they belong in a civilian court.

I didn't say we had secret prisons; I said the US has taken prisoners, sometimes American citizens, and kept their location secret. That's different.

And I hope we're clear that it's the Republicans that killed the Miers nomination. Democrats didn't do a thing.

Andy said...

*twelve, even

little-cicero said...

The reason that it took so long to put the indictment together is that Earl couldn't find any real grounds for laundering charges. It is much easier to charge someone with conspiring than executing.
This is quite a technical charge, thus there are doubts that Earl has justice and what's best for America in mind. TPJ, which moved Earl to indict Delay after an inconclusive investigation, is more suspect that Delay himself. It was funded substancially by George Soros and 10 other leftist organizations. Terrorism, by the way, is not activism, but a crime against humanity. You would not take Hitler or Stalin to a US criminal court, and we should not take Bin Laden to such a court.
I know I was going off topic in bringing this up, and that I generally agree with the post as it is about the idenitiy crisis of the DNC, so I'll wait until you put out a post about Delay to argue on this issue. The RNC has its own issues, and I wonder if Delay has been doing his part to "get this party started"