You are herecontent / Scurrying off the Ship
Scurrying off the Ship
Serving the City of Falls Church and Northern Virginia
Falls Church News Press
Nicholas F. Benton
President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court has served as an opportunity for those in his own party desperate to distance themselves from his sinking ship to do just that.
This column spoke to this prospect two months ago when it first became clear to many in the GOP that they could be riding the Bush bandwagon into oblivion if they did not jump off in a hurry.
Bush’s Katrina fiasco, the continued chaos in Iraq, persisting oil price woes, the popular uprising against Bush’s Social Security reform scam and Bush’s job approval ratings nosedive are all already history. These factors combined with imminent and steeply rising interest rates, a loss of confidence by foreign investors in the U.S. and deepening oil price squeeze on industry’s bottom line portend a bumpy ride for Republicans going into next year’s mid-term Congressional elections, and the best they can do for now is establish a track record of firm and principled disagreement with the Bush command.
The rats are scampering off both sides of the ship — left and right. The way its going, it will be very hard for anyone in that party to arise as a unifier, even in time for the 2008 presidential election, least of all Bush, himself.
Things are getting so bad for George W. that there’s even a poll by a highly respectable, non-partisan polling firm, Ipsos, showing that a majority of Americans favor impeaching the president if it is determined that he did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.
The poll, as reported by the activist web site, AfterDowningStreet.org, shows 50% of Americans, including 72% of Democrats, 56% of independents and 20% of Republicans, favor impeachment under such circumstances, compared to 44% who oppose. This is an 14% swing from as recently as late June, when a Zogby poll had only 42% for and 50% against impeachment on the same grounds.
The deepening scandals embroiling the fortunes of three top-level leaders in the GOP — Karl Rove, Bill Frist and Tom DeLay — are not helping matters, either.
The New York Times’ Frank Rich recognized the same motive of distancing amongst Republicans opposed to the Miers nomination in an article Sunday.
Turning to the other side of the aisle, we do not agree with those pundits who argue that while the GOP is in disarray, the Democrats are not taking good enough advantage of it by articulating a clear positive message of their own. That’s a GOP line.
It’s good enough for right now that the Democrats didn’t cause any of the problems engulfing Bush, and it will be better for those among them most vocal all along in their opposition to those among his policies that are now becoming so unpopular, especially Iraq.
Parties rise and fall around elections, and the Democrats have until a year from November to get it all together for a massive takeover of Congress.
The first task is to prepare to challenge the GOP in virtually every single Congressional district in the land. Running strong races even in historically Republican territories not only builds a national movement, bolsters fundraising and clarifies the message, it creates the necessary preconditions for what could snowball into a veritable electoral revolution.
This is where the Democrats are fortunate to have Howard Dean at the helm of their party organization. He pioneered this form of grass roots organizing, built on a passion for fundamental change and unprecedented Internet-based mobilization capabilities, during his presidential run, and he can be expected to put that to even better use now. He also brings a special talent for inspiring new legions to get active and overturn the political applecart.
The Democrats have to be the party that will restore what Bush has destroyed, including America’s good image in the eyes of the rest of the world by building back up the positive role of the United Nations and other global alliances. That will be the pathway to solving Iraq. Democrats will also most credibly advance the pursuit of alternatives to the nation’s dependency on depleting oil supplies, by contrast to Bush’s unsavory alliance with Big Oil. They will protect Social Security and focus on the meat and potatoes that Bush has been stealing off American dinner tables.
Honestly, it really won’t be that hard.