The Days Grow Short When You Reach "Security September"

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Oh, not this again.

Congress returns to Washington this week with the Republican majorities in both chambers at risk and GOP leaders planning to turn the House and Senate into battlegrounds over which political party can best protect the country from terrorists and other security threats… No budget plan for 2007 will be completed. Promised relief for seniors struggling with their Medicare prescription-drug plans will have to wait. And up to eight of the 11 bills needed to fund the government will not be passed before the November elections.

This is a subject near and dear to me, this Pavlovian response of Republicans to electoral trouble, where they ditch actual legislation in favor of culture war (or in this case, "war" war) resolutions. The early summer bout of anti-gay marriage and anti-flag burning legislation bought the caucus exactly zero momentum. The lesson they took from this was "let's do it again, but bigger!"

I suppose red meat resolutions would help the GOP if their future depended on drubbing a bunch of Democrats in deep red districts. But it doesn't. The Republicans are playing defense; their best shots at picking off Democratic seats to offset their losses are in conservative districts (like John Spratt's in South Carolina) held by Democrats who will vote for these resolutions anyway, or in liberal states (Washington, Michigan) where the Democrats will get boosts by casting new anti-war votes. Republicans will be able to go back to their districts with trumpets blaring their new support of warrantless wiretapping, sure, but votes like this only work as negatives—if you can get candidate X to vote the wrong way and buy new ads claiming "Candidate X voted with Teddy Kennedy to turn your kids into jihadist homosexuals."

The GOP would make up a lot more ground if it took the Wall Street Journal's advice, particularly on an anti-eminent domain bill that would block federal money from going to local projects invoking ED. And I'm sure many of them will argue they're fronting this short-term nonsense to build a bigger majority that can make bigger changes. Well, what's wrong with the majority they have now? This is the behavior of the gambler who's up $50,000 and, instead of leaving the casino to spend it, puts all the chips on red.

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  1. And I’m sure many of them will argue they’re fronting this short-term nonsense to build a bigger majority that can make bigger changes.

    There’s also the possibility that the G.O.P. have no actual ideas or values other than retaining their monopoly power over government. Perhaps, just perhaps, they really don’t care about fiscal restraint, property rights or civil liberties of any stripe. Is that concept worth considering?

    Just throwing it out there. Brainstorming, if you will.

  2. The Republicans are playing defense; their best shots at picking off Democratic seats to offset their losses are in conservative districts (like John Spratt’s in South Carolina)

    Spratt’s seat is safe. you can go to the bank.

  3. Promised relief for seniors struggling with their Medicare prescription-drug plans will have to wait.

    Well, that’s good news, anyway.

    Ya know, I could probably just about retire right now myself if I hadn’t had old people who are richer than me picking my pocket every payday.

  4. “No budget plan for 2007 will be completed. Promised relief for seniors struggling with their Medicare prescription-drug plans will have to wait. And up to eight of the 11 bills needed to fund the government will not be passed before the November elections.”

    So there is a good side to this…

  5. Since politicians of either party seem willing to toss aside virtually any principle to stay in or get power, why do they bother seeking or retaining office? I just can’t come up with a reason. There must be one. What satisfaction can they possibly get? What recompense?

    On September 17, I’m pouring some Nestea into Tampa Bay. No reason.

  6. They only have a few weeks and things of this nature can’t be hammered out overnight with any real quality. I guess quality and a job well done no longer fits into the GOP philosophy.

    Will liberty be a victim of expedency?

    The Dems could slam the GOP on trying to do a fast, poor job in the name of politics. They could point to the Iraq war as an example of the GOP’s fast and sloppy way of doing things. They could point to Bush’s “mission accomplished” speech as an indicator to how well the GOP bills will do in the long run. Dems could run on a quality first platform, if only they could get their heads out of their asses.
    Of course I’m wrongfully assuming that the American people care about quality anymore.

    If any GOP Senators have a set of balls they will keep a bad bill from being passed regardless of the time frame.

  7. Coming soon, the District of Columbia presents

    The Strawmen of September

  8. You have balls.

    I LIKE balls.

  9. Well, what’s wrong with the majority they have now? This is the behavior of the gambler who’s up $50,000 and, instead of leaving the casino to spend it, puts all the chips on red.

    Not even THAT close. putting all of the chips on red would indicate a 50/50 chance of getting what they want.

    Arguably, the odds are pretty much that they’re going to lose seats no matter what AND if anything the “early summer bout of anti-gay marriage and anti-flag burning legislation” should have told them the public was wise to them.

    Nope…they’re stupid, venal hypocrites who are under the mistaken idea that there’s a base left to rally.

    A super-right-wing friend of mine told me last week, “I don’t trust conservative politicians anymore. I don’t believe anything they say” I’m pretty sure he’s echoing a lot of “conservative base” sentiments.

    You don’t bounce back from that kind of malaise in 2 months without something really drastic happening.

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