As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Election?

I'm watching Hillary Clinton school a bunch of wingnuts in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Particularly, she responded to Mike Pence, who put on his very serious voice to denounce that devastating smile and handshake between President Obama and Hugo Chavez. The Secretary of State responded that, and I'm paraphrasing, we tried to isolate enemies for eight years, and where did it get us? President Obama won an election, and won a primary against me, offering a different vision, and the people agreed with his approach.

The Republican Party and its allies, simply put, act as if there was no election in November. In some cases they quite literally act that way, trying to stall Democratic victories. But that's the overall tenor as well. Washington remains wired for Republicans, and the focus continues to be on either relentlessly trivial issues or the fundamentally conservative slant on those issues, and thus the key questions never get asked.

Meanwhile, I haven't seen any reporter ask Cheney or his staff what seems like an obvious question: If there exist documents that prove that torture prevented attacks on the US, and those documents can be released without jeopardizing national security, why didn't the Bush administration release them before leaving office?

It isn't like it's a surprise that the Obama administration has made some changes in Bush administration torture policy; Cheney and Bush had to know that was a possibility. So why didn't they release this evidence that supposedly proves that torture is a necessary national security tool? (If the answer is that they feared releasing the documents would jeopardize national security, there's an obvious follow-up: Why does Cheney want them released now?)

But of course the election has been essentially disappeared. That "accountability moment," as George W. Bush once famously called it, where the public considered the options and made their will known, didn't happen. And the likely loss of the bare minimum seats to sustain a filibuster, which even the man running the Senate races has acknowledged, doesn't impact this outlook, either. They have bought the Kool-Aid that they have a silent, non-voting (apparently) majority and refuse to be moved by public opinion but to retrench. It's actually quite remarkable and ahistorical:

After losing ground in 2006, you might have expected Republicans to start distancing themselves from the hugely unpopular president and his failed conservative policies. Instead, the caucus held remarkably firm behind Bush’s agenda. And then they lost a bunch of additional seats in 2008. At this point you again might have expected them to start acting conciliatory. But they haven’t been. Which might lead you to suspect that they have some kind of secret master plan to explain why this makes sense. But, clearly, they don’t—Cornyn acknowledges that his side is likely to lose more seats.

I've heard this called the Republican death spiral, as the rump Southern contingent gathers more and more power inside the party while eroding the party throughout the rest of the country. That the Republican Party is now less popular than Venezuela makes no difference. They have become less a political concern than a weird theater group obsessed over slights toward Miss California or Presidential public gestures than the clear expressed will of the public.

And wait until they get a load of this. Hissy fit alert!

Egyptians are cautiously rejoicing over the recent appointment of a veiled Egyptian American Muslim woman as an advisor to President Obama.

Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed this month to Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

...This was good too.

"I don't consider (Dick Cheney) a particularly reliable source."

Labels: , , , , , , , ,