Democratic Underground

Brace Yourselves
May 30, 2001
by Desiree Lindsay

Let's be clear about what's about to happen here. In a little over a week, Democrats will control the Senate, and Republicans will be in the minority. After only four months of making history, they've managed to screw it up with a whole lot of help from Bush himself. Now Republicans will get to do what they do best: attack. And attack they will. Again, again, and again.

Get ready for the press to start wiping out more forests than Bush's corporate special interests because the only way to control the Dems and public opinion will be to get back on that media high horse... or low horse.

And the media will gladly oblige. Forget about the fact that the White House has proven their utter contempt for the press again and again, forget about the fact that the public is starting to believe that they are giving Bush a free ride and are starting to look corrupt. Never mind the fact that while they were so busy kissing Bush's ass that they completely ignored their chance - no, their RESPONSIBILITY, to expose and inform the public of the REAL repercussions that are likely now to be a reality because of his tax cut. They could have helped defeat this cut - or at least sharply reduced the size of it so no program would suffer from it.

By choosing to write glaringly positive things about the tax cut in huge headlines on the first page and burying the.cautions in the back of the newspaper, they did a great job of helping this bill go through. This becomes doubly wrong when you take into account that there were a lot of reporters who'd come to the conclusion that Bush and friends were simply lying to the American people.

But, did they DO anything about it? No. They have acted as if they weren't themselves going to suffer from it. But it's their country as much as any American citizen's; and if the American people lose, they will lose as well. So I believe that they are as responsible as Bush's dishonesty, Democrats' spine-disability, and the newspapers not warning the public that this is something that they should get concerned about. They didn't, so the Right's smear machine will grease back up, and it will be business as usual. Like it has been for the last eight years.

But here's where the rubber meets the road. With Republicans in the minority (though I don't put it past Bush to try to turn some Dem Republican before June 5th) they are going to show the country how to REALLY be the minority party. They will use every tactic in the book and will have most rank and file Dems that are paying attention wondering "now why couldn't we do that when WE were the minority?"

They WILL filibuster, while Democrats only threatened it; they WILL run out the clock on legislation that Bush doesn't want, though the Democrats just started using that tactic; they WILL use smear tactics against Democrats to distract the public from all the "arm wringing" that the Bush White House will continue to practice behind the scenes.

I've been reading many articles from Democrats on the net, and many are safely cautious about this new development as I am. After December 12th, another day that will live in infamy, the one upside I could think of through my tears was "at least, NOW, 2002 is a slam dunk for Dems." At the time, I thought that the Democrats and the American public were going to give Bush the hardest time in his spoiled life and would virtually guarantee a Democratic president in 2004. But I was wrong.

They squandered the huge lead and obvious advantage that they held going into the Congressional session and that gave Bush the chance to grab the public spotlight and capture the American public - making it hard for them to fight him after the fact. In short, they shot themselves in the foot. Luckily, Bush and Cheney are so arrogant that the Democrats look better by comparison.

Republicans on the Hill aren't allowed to think for themselves, act independently, and aren't expected to have a conscience - and now, THE AMERICAN PUBLIC KNOWS IT. The burden of proof will now sit on Bush's shoulders. He cannot go after the moderate Republicans - not right now anyway, because he knows the press and the American public will be keeping a sharp eye on any bullying behavior from him or his staff. Instead he is going to concentrate on vulnerable Democrats; using political blackmail to push his agenda through, but rather than use his White House staff to demean Senators, he's going to call on the American people to do his dirty work.

This could wind up being the end of his "luck" if the Democrats come out swinging. If they don't allow Republicans to again grab the public's attention and change the debate, Jeffords has handed the Dems a gift and he has raised the bar for everyone, including us.

It was not only Jeffords of course - this came on the beginning of a snowball effect starting with the few reporters who decided to take on the Washington press, the behind-the-scenes re-emergence of Al Gore, cussin' out some key Senators and getting them to start showing some spine, the Dems actively opposing one of Bush's nominees, his energy plan, and tax cut, and dissident Democratic organizations and websites beginning to make a dent in public opinion and their local newspapers. There was definitely a snowball effect going on. It all culminated with a wonderful gauntlet thrown down by a man that said figuratively, "I dare you. I dare you to be better, truer, to try to live up to the intention of our founders... and then go one step further than even that!" Outside of downright impeachment, the situation couldn't get any better for the Dems.

The burden of truth is on the White House. Most Americans have sided with Jeffords in this, not Bush and the Republicans. They will expect him to take this action as a sign that he needs to moderate himself. If he pushes his hard right agenda anyway, the public will blame HIM. No other tactic that they might use (like calling Democrats "obstructionists" for blocking him if he doesn't use moderation) will make a dent.

The ball is in HIS court now. If he tries to go on TV constantly bullying his agenda through Congress, the public will expect both Democrats, and now moderate Republicans, to put up, or shut up. Someone recently asked me in an interview what I thought of Bush. I told him that I thought he was a spoiled brat. And a spoiled brat only cares about what HE wants. No one else. And thankfully Bush is showing his bratty side right now by not taking responsibility for his mistakes. He is the current resident of the White House and the "top guy" of his party. The buck should stop with him. If the Senate Democrats are strong enough, it will.

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