(Cross-posted at Daily Kos, ePluribus Media, My Left Wing and my blog. Sorry in advance for the persistent reference to Daily Kos but it was written initially for that audience but I felt it would be interesting reading here as well!)
I watch the news every morning as I’m getting dressed for work (yes, I have a day job – it really interferes with my blogging habit). My preferred morning show is CNN’s American Morning. In the way that only CNN can announce so-called “breaking news”, the tell-tale “breaking” music came on this morning and caught my attention. I put down the hair brush and gave the TV my full attention for the announcement of (drumroll please) the resignation of Andy Card. I listened to the commentary and found myself wishing…
Oh to be a fly on the wall as Bush made the decision to accept Card’s resignation.
Jump with me.
I can’t speak for everyone who writes, comments or simply lurks at Daily Kos and other blogs – but I definitely get a sense of the frustration we feel with our party. It’s almost manic and has been for as long as I’ve been coming here (ca. November 2004). Something big happens that is generally negative towards the President and/or the Republican party as a whole. The buzz is immediate – diaries literally surge forth with analysis and speculation and well thought-out research and commentary. The wire tappings would be an apt and recent example. When news broke in mid-December that the administration had been unconstitutionally and illegally wire tapping domestic communications without adhering to FISA, it was blogged from every conceivable angle. I jumped into fray myself with a dry but informative diary about the particulars and history of FISA. Collectively, we swarmed around the information and raised the cry of “foul!” loudly and clearly. We eagerly rubbed our hands together waiting for the Democratic shoe to drop – for our leaders to fully and finally leverage this outrage which had been served up on a silver platter.
And we rubbed. And we waited. And we read. And we sighed. And we waited. And we got… well, essentially nothing.
And then the emotions violently swung back in the other direction – Quick!! Duck – you’re going to get hit with it!! We suck. Our leaders couldn’t identify the difference between their ass and a hole in the wall. We will never, ever win again. The vichy-Dems are to blame – the DLC is to blame – Reid and Pelosi are to blame – everyone but Howard Dean just doesn’t get it. And then, lo and behold – the numbers for not only the President but the Republican party as a whole are WAY down. Tom Delay is imploding – Randy Duke Cunningham is taken away in handcuffs – Abramoff is going to spill the beans – they are a corrupt bunch of money-grubbing illegal surveillors, I tell you!! (swing-duck)
You get the picture.
As many of you know, I went to the Crashing the Gate book signing in DC yesterday. Due to a last-minute request from ePluribus Media, I wound up taking copious notes on Markos’ and Jerome’s comments and the question and answer session. I’m glad that I did it – the mere process of trying to capture all of that information in writing, for me, allowed me to really focus on what was actually being said – my mind was not allowed to wander (which it does quite frequently).
One of the things that Markos particularly focused on was the need to take the “long view”. At times as he spoke, that view was either 10-12 years or even 10-15 years. 10-15 years. My instictive reaction to those moments was to cringe and think “Jesus Christ – I can’t wait that long!!” Yet reflection this morning delivered the truth of that statement to me loud and clear. One questioner made an interesting comment in the context of setting Democratic priorities. She said (paraphrased):
“We always seem to be running around putting out fires that are set by Republicans.”
(swing-duck) I can’t escape the fundamental and blanket truth of that statement. It has been echoed in many, many diaries and front-page stories on Daily Kos. We are reactive – not proactive. We always seem back-on-our-heels. The frustration that breeds is palpable. The only answer to that flaw is to take a long view. I find that inherently depressing even while recognizing that it’s absolutely necessary and accurate.
So where’s the juxtaposition? How do we make our advancement in the short-term while planning always for the long-term? How do we save what we can today while planning not only our future goals and moves but also planning to undo the damage done while we were being reactive and they proactive?
I don’t have a simple answer to that question – sorry. But what I do have now, today, is the ability to look at events occuring now and in the recent past that give me hope, hope that will keep me fighting, pressing, and moving forward.
Which brings me full-circle to the that fly on the wall. My fly on the wall exists in a speculative scenario – let’s be clear on that up-front – but I don’t think what my fly sees and hears is beyond the scope of the believable. Sometime in the past week, my fly on the wall heard and saw something like this:
HASTERT: Mr. President. We have an election year coming up and Republicans are worried. Even our numbers on national security are softening. You don’t have to run again, but we do. Your approval ratings are dragging us down. You must make some changes, very public ones, in your leadership.
BUSH: Denny, I’m not going to do that. I’m a loyal guy and I’m loyal to the people who have served me all these years. Andy Card is a friend and good guy. I’m not going to get rid of him just because you guys can’t get anything done in Congress.
FRIST: Mr. President, this is obviously your decision and we can’t tell you what to do. But if you keep doing what you’ve been doing and don’t make a public effort to make some changes, not one item on your second-term agenda is going to make it through Congress. Republican Senators and Representatives can’t and won’t sacrifice their re-elections to stand behind your policy initiatives.
HASTERT: Look at the Dubai deal – we couldn’t and wouldn’t back you on that because we’d lose our jobs. Iraq doesn’t look good to the American public. No one seems to have a passion or willingness to back your Social Security initiatives. Medicare isn’t going well in the public’s opinion. We still have the Libby, DeLay, Abramoff and Safavian scandals hanging over our heads, and Specter, a member of your own party, is pushing forward the effort on hearings on the domestic wiretapping issue. And do I even need to mention how the ongoing devastation in the Gulf region looks to Americans? We can’t publicly support you with these things happening. It’s time to turn the tide.
BUSH: I’ve made public statements of support for my staff, Denny. But thank you for coming by here to talk to me.
(HASTERT and FRIST leave)
ROVE: (Inaudible – whispering to the President)
BUSH: (picks up phone) Andy, we need to talk.
Buzz buzz. And with that, Card is out and Bolten is in. And White House whisperings indicate that this will not be the end of the so-called “shake up”.
Daily Kos readers specifically and progressive bloggers generally, I find, are astute. You can read what I’ve written above and draw the conclusion that the move to replace Card with Bolten is a sign and a signal that Congressional Republicans are waking up and are working hard to wake up the President. On balance, “getting a clue” is not what we want. But I would argue that, while you may be correct in your assessment in this moment, these capitulations (which were unthinkable in 2002 or 2003) are a sign of what Markos said at the signing yesterday. Kerry’s loss signified the beginning of the end of the conservative movement as we know it. Republican policies are bad policies that can’t stand over time. It’s like the person who steals and steals and steals – eventually, they get caught. I believe that. It’s no different where Republican policies are concerned.
So I would offer this little glimmer of hope – the Democratic party is changing. Think about the press and buzz Crashing the Gate is receiving. Think about how, two years ago, CNN didn’t even speak about blogs and how they feature them regularly today. Think about the role you personally have played and are playing in the change that is afoot. The Democratic party will function differently in 2006 in part because of what this place and others represents – the change it embodies. And 2006 will be different than how it’s going to be done in 2008, etc. and so on. So-called “Establishment Democrats” will face a time of choosing: Change or be struck from the process.
Keep your chins up, my revered friends. We and those like us are an awesome power that is surging forward. Work hard – embrace the 50-state strategy and do what you can to make it a realization. If we don’t take back either house of Congress in 2006, step back and recognize that any gains are an increment of the greater goal we must accomplish.
(swing-duck) (buzz buzz)