Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Bubble Pops

While control of the Senate is still undecided, it was obviously a fantastic night for Democrats -- and by extension balance, restraint, and sanity. I'm under no illusion that the Dems represent anything other than a new set of brakes at this point -- but a car that's going 100mph in the wrong direction first has to slow down before it can stop and turn around. Will the Republicans/Titular Right "learn" anything from last night? Color me skeptical. From an editor of a popular Righty site comes this claim that America essentially "rejected Bill Kristol." The patient is still in denial.

I'm looking for the Dems to provide three things, not necessarily in this order: oversight, oversight, and oversight. Subpoena power falls under that rubric; it's time to find out more about what happened during the past few years, isn't it? While Dems ran on a "change the course" platform regarding Iraq, it will be interesting to see what course they articulate now that the elections are over. If Bush remains intransigent -- and his recent statements about Rumsfeld indicate he will -- then investigative power becomes more important; it gives the Dems leverage to force changes in Iraq policy, and it will allow them to neutralize Republican charges of "defeatism" and "not supporting the troops" by exposing the underbelly to an angry public and keeping the outrage factor on their side.

Above all else, this election was about Iraq, and the "course" has been rejected. Democrats forget that at their peril.


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11/08/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger OrganicGeorge said...

Henry Waxman has been creating a papertrail on legislation that contains "inserted" items, after the legislation has passed.

We should see a move to have some of the legislation signed by Bush declared unconstitutional due to these insertions, as well as legal action taken against those who added the inserted items.

11/08/2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous DrGail said...

it will be interesting to see what course they articulate now that the elections are over

Let's not fall into the spin-machine's talking point that "the Dems have no plan". It's not up to the politicians to craft a plan; that's what got Iraq into such trouble in the first place (albeit with a different bunch of politicians).

It's the Dems' job to gather the right people together, listen to their input, and push toward a workable solution. Now that we have control of the House (and thereby have control of the committees and have the all-important subpeona power), we can do precisely that.

11/08/2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger Miss Bliss said...

Well I started to comment and ended up writing a darn blog I'll put that on my blog and simply say...yes, it's high time for some accountability and some checks and balances.

11/08/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

America has once again reminded our political leadership to not dabble in extremes too often. Govern from the center, and govern smartly. Time and again, party leaders lose their awareness. Then, they lose their jobs.

11/08/2006 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder what feral dogs do when they are up against the wall.

11/08/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld is going resign. Check any news source. Oh to be a fly on THAT wall. Is Bush becoming the coward we knew he was?

11/08/2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Bush is claiming that he held off on the Rumsfeld announcement to avoid politicizing military policy. The screechy sound you hear is every Republicans who lost yesterday screaming "What Were You Thinking?"

Boy, I'd love to know when the decision was actually made....

11/08/2006 1:48 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

I agree with you today, C.R. A sigh of relief and then back to work.

BTW, I don't know if you followed the Curt Weldon investigation. Over at the TPM Cafe, another member and I put together a lot of informaton about the congressman.

I am coming around to thinking that the FBI deliberately raided Weldon's daughter's offices before the election to ensure that Weldon did not get re-elected.

I suspect that Weldon was trafficking in intelligence or was somehow a threat to national security and the FBI was alarmed enough to want to stop him in his tracks.

11/08/2006 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm right with ya brotha. Oversight is #1.

11/08/2006 6:52 PM  
Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Can you say Wizard of Oz, and exposing the Party behind the curtain. It will be an interesting time. C-Span might get more viewers than Faux News. ;-)

11/08/2006 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gates appointment means cunning realists running least for now...

11/08/2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This marks the end of the unitary executive theory.

11/08/2006 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree that this election was just Iraq. Just like we went to war for many reasons, so is the disgust with the Republican party. As Charles Barkley said, I was a republican until they lost their minds. But it was Iraq, and our foreign policy, Katrina, and our domestic policy, shooting down science, fudging numbers, debt, medicare drug pgm, attacks on the environment, fake news, Shavio, rubber stamp congress, pork, corruption, secrecy, secret energy meetings, arrogance, hypocrisy, suppression of ideas and critical thinking, saying one thing and doing another, signing statements, ignoring laws and derogating our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is time to: stop, think, face, fight, and heal. No more fear. Hope. Science. Math. Debate. Ideas. We have been in the gutter for a very long time, and that "Contract with America" that they brought us, good riddance.

Plus these 109 reasons.

11/08/2006 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Rumsfeld got fired.

So was it Laura or Sparky who bailed on Rummy?

11/08/2006 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at least haas's middle east doesnt have lots of war/death to humans coming with it like birth pangs condi's...

11/08/2006 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a fascinating shift is underway in the US elite.

The massive defeat of the GOP not only in Congress but in governorships (now majority democrat) has shifted the internal power balance towards the old Realist faction of James Baker III, Kissinger Scowcroft and Father Bush. Perle and Cheney and neocons are on defensive and Cheney now that Rumsfeld is gone remains the likely scapegoat in an ensuing factional bloodbath. The immediate choice of Robert Gates ex father Bush CIA chief to replace Rumsfeld signals that Baker is calling the shots once again. Gates is part of the little-publicized bipartisan Iraq Study Group set up last March against the wished of Cheney to try to find a strategy to remove Iraq as a loss factor for the GOP in 2008. Before Tuesday it was unclear what if any regard Bush might pay to the Baker Iraq recommendations soon to be made to Bush. Now the fact that immediately Bush named old Baker crony Gates to Defense means he has read the writing on the wall, and reacted accordingly. Baker no longer Cheney is calling the shots. Bush has no choice if he wants to save any legacy (which in any event is unlikely).

Next step is likely to be direct US-Iran talks over Iraq Shiites to allow a US redeployment in Iraq. That means the Perle/Ledeen bomb Iran crowd has lost. What will now play out on the dollar and financial markets generally remains to be seen. Washington must signal very soon a major major shift in relation to allies in EU and Asia and Eurasia if it is to avoid a massive dollar dumping in 2007. Even so it would difficult.

The following is a brief sketch of what the new Committtee Chairmanships in House and Senate will look like. Keep in mind that for the past 5 years with Republican control of both houses de facto and de jure the White House had been able to block anything and everything that it wanted. No more:

John Conyers (D-MI) becomes chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. His portfolio to investigate election fraud and Patriot Act abuses may result in possible impeachment articles being put forward.

John Dingell (D-MI) becomes chairman of the House Commerce Committee. His committee has oversight for energy (Cheney's secret energy task force is under the gun), telecommunications (media consolidation issues could be on the table), consumer protection, and public health.

Barney Frank (D-MA) becomes chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Minimum wage increase on the agenda.

Charlie Rangel (D-NY) becomes chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rolling back tax cuts for billionaires as well as corporate offshore tax havens will be on the agenda.

Henry Waxman (D-CA) becomes chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. He will exercise subpoena power to bring witnesses (friendly and hostile) before his committee to investigate Pentagon contract fraud (watch out Halliburton and KBR).

Ike Skelton (D-MO) becomes chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Will also investigate Pentagon contract fraud.

Alcee Hastings (D-FL) may become chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Look for real fireworks here with former members of the US Intelligence Community being called to testify on pre-war intelligence cooking.

Neo-conservative ally Tom Lantos is slated to take over the House International Relations Committee. This is the only committee where the Bush administration will have anything close to a safe haven. Lantos was a supporter of the Iraq war.

In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee under the chairmanship of Patrick Leahy will be able to bottle up any right-wing nominations to the Supreme Court, if any should arise. Bush will be forced to submit the names of moderate consensus judges.

Joe Biden will become Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Iraq will be at the top of the agenda.

Jeff Bingaman becomes Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where gasoline price gouging and Interior Department scandals will feature prominently.

Jay Rockefeller becomes Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with subpoena power on pre-war intelligence cooking. Pat Roberts, who has stonewalled for the White House, will be relegated to ranking member.

Carl Levin becomes Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Max Baucus becomes Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

Robert Byrd takes over as Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Byrd also becomes President pro tem of the Senate, fourth in line for the White House after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Dick Cheney.

All in all 2007 is shaping up to be a fascinating year...

11/09/2006 4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and bolty is toast...

11/09/2006 4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Truthiness" (historical and scientific) and bona fides, foreign and domestic, are the two most important things on the new Congress' agenda, and they better get a crash program started yesterday already. Nothing else matters. Nothing else CAN matter; everything The People are screaming for is either pointlessly non-productive or plain frigging impossible, like a dog laying an egg, unless the Elected Ones take a pledge of allegiance to reality -- all the stuff that doesn't go away if you stop believing in it or outright deny it exists. Okay, first, immediately after each incoming Congresscritter takes the oath of office, he or she should be allowed to punt Joe Lieberman's balls or deliver a single aimed blow with a police side-handle baton, according to personal inclination. Then comes the Repudiation of Postmodern Politics, and boom, it's down to business without so much as a coffee break.

Mom and Dad are home early and boy are they pissed -- Mom in particular is unimpressed with the argument that a keg party full of vomiting teenagers is "one way of describing a complex situation simplistically" or "Eldercrats always play the blame game". If the Dems can't or won't do anything with this situation, there's officially no difference between the two parties and a lot of people owe Nader an apology.

(I heard the local TV anchor, avuncular and late-fifties-ish, describe Bob Gates as Reagan's DCI this morning. Would it be possible to instigate a sweeping purge of bog-stupid media and journaliste types? Like, cut to a commercial, and then return to the news set with an empty chair and giant bloodstain on the wall behind it, while the weatherman nervously loosens his tie and corrects the unfortunate misstatement his former college tossed off?)

11/09/2006 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

We don't owe Nader a thing, other than a one way ticket to an extremely warm place. He's a vainglorious tool that pitched the argument that there's no difference between Bush or Gore. If you STILL believe that, there's an awesome deal on Florida land just north of the Keys. Great location for building with plenty of room for championship golf.

W got himself elected on the promise of restoring integrity to government. What we got instead is sickening to contemplate and here we are today: just emerging from six years of grim darkness. On top of the corruption, lies and malfeasance the economic performance of this administration (by measure of appreciated equity value in securities) is the worst since the Nixon administration. So this 'pro business President' is merely 'pro crony'.

Democrats have quite a mess to clean up: restoration of powers of oversight, restoring and repositioning our armed services to a healthy level of readiness, reversal of regressive legislation and policies, articulation of policies that will invigorate our economy, education, society and health. The extreme right will do nothing but blame Democrats for the mess that Republicans have left behind. But I'm optimistic. The mood here is very positive and many (young and old) described yesterday as being one of the happiest in their lives. I spent much of the day fighting back tears of joy.

11/09/2006 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We haven't "emerged" from Sweet Fanny Adams. This is still the Good Old Days before America came unwound like a giant pencil shaving behind Bushco's antics. Tens of thousands of homeless people haven't been arrested for trespassing on "their" foreclosed houses and building fires in "their" three-car garages in preference to freezing to death -- that's the bank's garage, you deadbeat, not that it's worth the cost of the gas the fire engines would use up responding to yet another out-of-control DIY central heating mishap. "Petro-euros" still has a giggly science-fiction sound to it. The U.S. hasn't actually made a devil's deal with local thugs for safe passage of the ragged shreds of our military out of the sandbox -- Nixon signing the Hanoi Peace Accords, if you will. The DJIA is still some absurd seventeen-digit number, and massive sell-offs of T-bills and dollars have been restrained and discreet. Bush is ill-tempered and close to the edge but hasn't melted down on live TV like Hubert Humphrey.

Most bittersweet of all, approximately fifty World Trade Centers full of battle-weary veterans haven't begun the process of trying to scrape together the powder and shards of their interrupted lives and/or wounded souls. And most damning of all, everyone with an ounce of pull is trying to figure out how Japan went over half a century without telling its neighbors, "Whoa, our bad; party foul. We suck. Please fling monkey doo-doo at us. We are so, so sorry." Because we'd like to pull the same trick if possible. And I'm sorry, Nuremberg II just isn't going to happen. We're talking NORML pie-in-interstellar-space fantasies here.

I'm all about the "Mission Accomplished" election, and I'm glad it didn't turn out the exact opposite way. Only, get back to me when crises are being resolved faster than Kossacks can diary them and the halls of the Capitol are an inch deep in haphazardly slashed and discarded red tape.

Instead of apologizing to Nader, which is going too far actually, how about going up to Wierd Uncle Gus and shaking his hand and saying "About 45% of your stupid government conspiracy rubbish has been documented, demonstrated in action, or verified by diligent research and a helpful deathbed confession here and there, and I salute you. No aliens or Zero Point energy stuff, I'm warning you, but... could I borrow your Whole Earth Catalog for the weekend?"

11/09/2006 9:02 PM  
Anonymous jay walker said...

Now is not the time to start playin' the blame game...!

<./snark >

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