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October 12, 2006

option c

Kevin Drum (whose blog I like enough to check several times daily) wrote this a while ago:

If Democrats win in November, they're still going to have a very limited amount of power to get things done. Policy-wise, they're going to remain pretty constrained, and that means they can go in two basic directions: (a) acting as the party of moderation and focusing on bipartisan 'good government' proposals, or (b) using the subpoena power of Congress to investigate the hell out of what's been going on in the executive branch for the past six years.

Drum suggests investigating the hell out of Bush, because polls show that there aren't many moderate voters who would support option a.

It took me several days to realize what's wrong with this. It omits option (c): Develop legislation that might actually address some of our nation's fundamental issues, such as global warming, incredible rates of crime and incarceration, high school dropout rates of nearly one-third, economic transfers from Gen Y to today's retirees, loss of blue-collar jobs, vulnerability at the ports, etc. The necessary legislation might be moderate, or it might be radical--the important question is whether it would plausibly address our most crucial issues.

I am fully aware that most good legislation would be defeated in at least one house or would face a veto. But then Democrats could take the issue to the voters in '08.

To anticipate an objection: Isn't the malfeasance of the current executive branch a national problem that is worth addressing? In my opinion, it is a problem, but one that is soon to end with the departure of the administration. It doesn't require legislative action as our deeper social, environmental, and security problems do. Finally, all Americans except the ones who identify strongest with the Democratic Party will be suspicious of an elaborate series of investigations. They will think the Dems are trying to achieve partisan advantage, not genuinely working on public or national or common problems.

October 12, 2006 12:19 PM | category: none


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