This ties in to the last couple of posts –Jonathan Chait has an excellent op ed in today’s Los Angeles Times called “Running against the boogeyman.”
Democracy is a process of compromises and imperfect choices. Asking the voters to compare the two sides is the right thing to do. The trouble is, that isn’t really what the Republicans want to do at all.
How do I know this? Because the Democrats running for the House of Representatives actually have an agenda. Republicans aren’t saying why the Democratic agenda is wrong, or why their own is better. They’re just ignoring it.
If you’re like most people, you probably have no idea what that agenda is. Let me list it:
• Put new rules in place to break the link between lobbyists and legislation.
• Enact all the recommendations made by the 9/11 commission.
• Raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.
• Cut the interest rate on federally supported student loans in half.
• Allow the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.
• Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds.
• Impose pay-as-you-go budget rules, requiring that new entitlement spending or tax cuts be offset with entitlement spending cuts or tax hikes.
Republicans disagree with all these items. Indeed, the reason these items are on the Democratic agenda is that Republicans in Congress have blocked them from coming up for a vote. So where’s the Republican rebuttal?
Now, I’m not saying that the GOP needs to hold some Oxford-style intellectual debate. But shouldn’t the party offer some rebuttal? …
… My point is, we’re not even getting a debate about a caricature of the Democratic position, let alone the actual one. Instead, we’re getting things like this: GOP Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana is running an ad warning that if Democrats take power and California Democrat Nancy Pelosi becomes House speaker, she “will then put in motion her radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda, led by Barney Frank, reprimanded by the House after paying for sex with a man who ran a gay brothel out of Congressman Frank’s home.”
Yes. And may I add that if we had an objective and neutral news media that did its job, Chait wouldn’t have had to write this column.
Republicans don’t want an actual choice election, they want to run against a mythological Democratic Party so frightening that the voters overlook all the GOP’s failures.
See the previous post about how righties confuse liberals and Muslims with evil killer science fiction robots.
For a clue to why Karl Rove still thinks his party will win the midterms, check out this LA Times story by Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten.
During a whirlwind five-hour trip to bolster an endangered GOP congressman’s reelection prospects, White House political guru Karl Rove last week delivered a fiery speech to 500 party activists, then shook every available hand and posed for snapshots like a rock star. He toured suburbs recently trashed by a snowstorm. He also found time to huddle with local strategists.
But the most significant element of Rove’s effort to help four-term Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds keep his job may have occurred behind closed doors, when the White House strategist met with a federal disaster relief official contemplating how to respond to the storm. Four days later, Reynolds announced that President Bush would authorize millions of dollars in federal disaster aid for the area.
The timing was perfect: Reynolds broke the news hours after testifying before the House Ethics Committee about his role in the Mark Foley sex scandal â€” knocking reports on the scandal out of the spotlight.
And the moral is, if your community is going to be hit by a major disaster, be sure it’s right before an important election that Republicans might lose. It’s the only way you’re going to get any help from Washington.