Saturday, November 11, 2006


Look, don't get me wrong. I'm as happy as a pig in shit. It was so pretty to watch Bush fire Donald Rumsfeld the morning after the election, even if he did go right out and replace him with yet another rat. But it was downright refreshing to see him stand there minus the jutting jaw, the swagger, the smirking laugh. Nice to finally see him eat a little crow, to watch his lips draw up, almost as if he'd been forced to wolf down a handful of maggots, like a contestant on Fear Factor.

But the fact is the Dems were handed a gift they did not particularly earn. For the most part, they either sat on their hands and watched or actively assisted and supported Bush in achieving everything he's wanted, from the war in Iraq to the Patriot Act, to warrantless wiretapping, to torture, to throwing out the rule of habeas corpus, even right up to the brink of an invasion of Iran.

They have provided little or no resistance to outright violations of the law, the Geneva Conventions, and the Constitution itself. There are "My Lais" happening in Iraq every day, and we have yet to hear so much as a complaint from them about that, other than to say we should withdraw our troops at some future point. But for the most part, these Dems that we're all crowing about looked the other way while Bush and every member of his team were lying day after day to get us into this war.

For at least six years, the picture that emerges of the Democratic Party has been that of the three monkeys with hands covering their eyes, ears and mouths. Especially their mouths, for even if they were in the minority and therefore powerless to do very much, they certainly could have been speaking out at every opportunity against the excrutiating and wanton excesses of this president, when so often, all we heard out of them was a stark and ghastly silence.

So, at the risk of sounding like a killjoy, there simply has been far too little in the Democrat's behavior up to now that ought to incline us to bet on them to move the country in a real progressive direction. Merely because there are suddenly more of them on the scene doesn't mean their collective spine has grown more vertebrae, or that they are any less apt to be bought off than those that were bought before.

In this euphoric moment, let's remember: Nixon was shown the door for far less crimes than those of Bush and Cheney. Yet, our "feisty" new Democrats have already declared impeachment "off the table." Perhaps a fairly good hint of what lies in store.

I suggest we will have to push these feisty fellows like an old car with a bad starter. Yes, it's nice to be able to clap ourselves on the back and rejoice in this new day. But make no mistake--our real work has just begun.


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