The non-opposition opposition

Did the Democrats in the House during the debate on Iraq mention the entire invasion was based on lies? No. Did they acknowledge that the majority of the public no longer supports the war? Nope, they didn’t do that either. Did they fall into their usual trap of letting the Republicans set the agenda for them? Well, of course they did.

That they are rudderless and craven is a given. But more importantly, they are complicit. Else, why do they never stand up and fight for what they say they believe in?

  • Joe Hartley

    Ron Brownstein has an interesting column in the LA Times where he argues that the problems with the Democrats is simply the same problem that all parties without their hands on the levers of power suffer. WIthout the ability to affect legislation, small difference make it impossible to unite to push something through. Your experience in the Green Party, where the differences in position are so miniscule as to require a microscope to detect them, is another such example of this.

    As I’ve said before, what the party in opposition does is relatively unimportant. It is the screw-ups of the powers-that-be, not of the opposition, that lead to change.

    Further, I find it hard to fault the southern and Midwestern Democrats who voted for the nonbinding resolution. They don’t live in safe, Democratic districts like Henry Waxman, and I’m sure their political instincts told them they would get clobbered if they didn’t vote for it. Hard to enforce party unity under such circumstances.

    Your desire for action, any action, is a most American reaction to the state of things. But even though instant gratification may not be fast enough, Americans have to learn to slow down. The latest imperial venture into the Middle East will collapse because the premises–that everybody is a Nebraskan under their skin just itching to be released–were silly and unsupported. The US entered Iraq with no understanding of the culture, no political model about how a brutalized and repressed people might react after having the shackles removed, and no one who spoke the language. The only reason that the American ever found Zarqawi was that he irritated the Jordanians by blowing up some of their hotels, and they sent in people who could pass for Iraqis, located Zarqawi, and turned the information over to the Americans. (If the Bushies had any sense, they should be worried about being gamed by our allies, from the Chalabis to the Israelis, but they’re way too naive and way to cocky to think aobut it). The venture will collapse of its own weight as the American public bores of it, whether there is anybody in the streets or whether there is any effective Democratic opposition. You can try to educate folks–quite a challenge in this post-literate age, where Bill O’Reilly’s opinions pass popular muster as “news”–but nobody should expect miracles in getting the oceanliner turned around and heading in a more appropriate direction.

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