Yippee, We Have A Government Again!
There are many things that contributed to last weeks tidal wave for the Democrats, a riled up base, Republicans sick of the corruption within their own Party, the quagmire that is Iraq, but I can’t help but think that the images of Republican leaders refusing to do the job they were elected to do and instead using Capitol Hill and the White House as campaign props were in the minds of the voters when we cast our ballots last week. The image of President Bush flying in from his vacation in Crawford to sign a bill to prolong the life of Terri Schiavo juxtaposed with his singing and campaigning while Americans drowned in New Orleans had to have had an affect. Republican Congressmen pontificating on the House floor about flag burning amendments and gay marriage amendments while we have a healthcare crisis in this country showed even their base how ridiculous the Republican Party has become. Yes, GOP leaders hate government, and many rank and file Republican voters do too, but we all, regardless of Party affiliation, recognize that we need government in a crisis and that our government has been AWOL for each and every crises we have faced in the last six years.
Grover Norquist explained the conservative agenda perfectly when he said he wanted to get government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub”. Well, they didn’t manage that exactly, but they did bloat government to the point that it has broken its moorings and is now bobbing around aimlessly in open waters. The GOP did manage to get the majority of Americans to hate government, but I don’t think they counted on having that anger turned on them directly. Sometimes we Americans allow ourselves to be fooled, but sometimes we decide to see through the crap and actually punish those responsible. That, in a nutshell, is what happened last Tuesday. Despite the Republicans attempts to obfuscate the facts, smear the Democrats and run from their stark record of doing nothing for the last two years, the voters recognized who was to blame for our current sorry state, and acted accordingly.
It feels like the conservative swing in this country is over, but now it is up to the Democrats in Congress to give us a good push off in the other direction. I like the plan for the first 100 hours, raising the minimum wage, instituting lobbying reform, enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations, cutting student loan interest rates, lowering prescription drug prices for Medicare, and after that, rolling back tax cuts for the rich and reinstituting “pay as you go” meaning that whenever you add something to the budget, you have show where that money is going to come from. In short, the Democrats are going to make sure that government works again and that it works for the majority of this country and not just for the benefit of the richest 1%. I know, it’s hard to remember back when the government worked for the people. It will certainly take some getting used to.