Tom Davis Gives Up
October 4, 2008 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Tom Davis Gives Up (SLNYT). “Tell them about the important work we’re doing while Rome burns,” he said. A candid accounting of American politics from a member of the GOP disillusioned with both sides of the aisle and an overview of how he became that way.
posted by schroedinger (39 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Saw this one this morning and was really interested. We have this American convention particularly in the House where the Really Smart Guy / Gal whose paid their dues in local government and who the community is attached to goes to Congress. From this profile, Tom Davis seems to be that guy in his NoVA district. As politics gets meaner and less focused on the good of the country, the Really Smart Guy / Gal will always decide its more fun, better for their family and easier to deal with if they do something else. It wasn't this way even 20 years ago, when Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan paled around after 6 PM, and it doesn't always have to be this way.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:57 PM on October 4, 2008

As politics gets meaner and less focused on the good of the country...

Not to turn this partisan so quickly, but I am not going to let the GOP get away with turning politics into a matter of personal destruction and culture wars, then call themselves "disillusioned" when they are on the losing end.
posted by DU at 1:06 PM on October 4, 2008 [26 favorites]

I saw this too and then look at votesmart for his voting record. He's just another far right-wing anti-abortion, anti-energy efficiency, pro-war on terror, etc. He's just another Bush. Hey, I've got a crazy idea: how about the system isnt broken but the problem is that the GOP ideology is broken?

I dont see how any of these positions are susatainable and blaming Bush seems like a good way to keep the constients happy while selling them out. How long does America expect the far-right wing of the GOP and religious fundamentalists to keep things afloat? We're starting to see blowback from all these failed policies and instead of questioning the policies we are supposed to question the players and the system. This seems all very convenient for Mr. Davis and his ilk.

The problem is the GOP is too far to the right. Bush is a just a good conservative as far as I can tell. Deregulation, war as a first resort, etc.

I'm not buying the problem lies with "both parties." The problem lies with one party.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:07 PM on October 4, 2008 [12 favorites]

I'm so disillusioned with both sides when all I cared about was one side. Waaaahhh! Go home, you big #*!#@ baby. (I say this even while believing our system is dysfunctional and in decline. But people like this guy should just stay out of American politics for life.)
posted by raysmj at 1:10 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Guess he can go back to working with Al Franken now...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:14 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

133tpolicywonk, I grew up in his district, and I think you're right. WP ran an article a year ago about how he was snubbed by the state GOP because he's seen as too liberal.
The Republican Party will continue to lose elections unless it opens itself to social moderates, immigrants and other groups who look to government to protect public schools and reform health care, U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III said yesterday [25 Oct 07] ...

Davis, 58, whose moderate views on immigration, taxes and social issues play well with his political base in Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia, said his decision to pass on the Senate race was fueled mainly by the Republican State Central Committee's choice this month of a convention instead of a primary to nominate the party's candidate in the spring.

A convention is seen as favoring former governor James S. Gilmore III, whose right-leaning positions on taxes and social issues are more likely to appeal to the conservative Republicans who tend to participate in conventions.
posted by woodway at 1:18 PM on October 4, 2008

Excuse my perhaps simplistic grasp of the past eight years in American politics but was it not always the agenda of Karl Rove (and his crowd) to divide the nation on pretty much every issue? This is the death of moderation. As for all the emotionally, ethically, morally, politically exhausted Tom Davis's out there, all I can say is reap what you allowed to be sown. You had way more influence than 99.99 percent of your fellow countrymen.
posted by philip-random at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2008 [8 favorites]

I called Tom Davis last week to discuss about the pork/bailout bill. Tom Davis voted twice for it. When asked on why he supports it, he said if not, then the credit market would dry up. What is the problem with letting the bad investors flop? His aide's answer was atrocious. He said, I don't know anything about the economy, I don't know anything about the banking system, but if we don't pump 700 billion in the market, the credit line would dry up. What a bunch of s**t. Tom Davis hung up on me by saying the had to go take a dump (vote).
posted by watercressprincess at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2008

watercressprincess: Tom Davis' "aide" was, more likely than not, either a staff assistant or an intern. Don't judge him or even his economic legislative aide by who happens to pick up the phone.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:44 PM on October 4, 2008

It's easy to bash Republicans for giving their party priority before national interests -- and of course they've earned that bashing -- but let's not forget how eager the Democrats are to do the same thing. Pelosi and the Democratic Congress were put into power in 2006 with a very clear mandate to end the war in Iraq and to stand up to the Bush power abuses but the moment they had their seats and committees their campaign promises were abandoned and their responsibilities to the voters were forgotten in favor of a broader strategy of gaining control of the White House. The war continues, Cheney's still around, FISA was pushed through, Pelosi even unilaterally declared impeachment proceedings off the table. They've done fuck all for us, they're only working to keep themselves in power.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:49 PM on October 4, 2008 [8 favorites]

I33policywonk: I wouldn't have if Tom Davis did not regurgitate the same song and dance... I am sorry, but if he truly wants to solve problems, he must understand the problems before trying to fix them. When asked if he could substantiate his position (with concrete proof) that by dumping 700 billion to buy s**t, everything would be okay... he resorted to taking a dump...

A problem solver seeks to understand the underlying problem...Tom Davis does not want to do that.
posted by watercressprincess at 1:51 PM on October 4, 2008

It reminds me of that scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail: "Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who..."
posted by billysumday at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

OK, so all these moderate Repubs are being pushed out by the wingers. Thing is, had they repudiated Bush and the neo-cons and the social conservatives, many of us of the soft left and the pragmatic anti-war coalition would have welcomed them and supported them. I personally won't give money to a Dem running against North Carolina's Walter Jones; Jones is a pretty confirmed conservative but he'santi-war and anti-Bush, and having a conservative anti-war Republican is frankly more useful than having whatever conservative Dem could run against him.

What I'm saying is, these guys should have stayed and fought for their Party and their country, tried to create a true "maverick" Republican wing, a wing harkening back to Eisenhower and Main Street Republicanism. But to do that they'd have had to repudiate Bush and the war -- which Tom Davis still refuses to do. Admitting Bush is a faiure but then saying you'd still vote for him over Kerry is just cowardice.

These guys could have manned up and taken back their Party, and independent middle of the road voters would have rewarded them.
posted by orthogonality at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

So, he bitches that party politics is coming before country, and that each side is trying to stay on top, but then:

“Failure to fundamentally change the G.O.P. brand can lock us into a long period of minority status,” he warned.

Uh, yeah, ok. Whatever you fucking crybaby.
posted by symbioid at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Pelosi even unilaterally declared impeachment proceedings off the table.

I'm sure that helped increase the chance that Rep. Davis would become disillusioned with both parties, rather than help the two parties come to agreement on much of anything in the way of decent legislation.
posted by raysmj at 2:11 PM on October 4, 2008

What good was impeachment going to do anyway when Dick Cheney would have become vice president? Would you listen to yourself?
posted by raysmj at 2:13 PM on October 4, 2008

I know the head of IT for the House Government Reform committee, who held that post during Tom Davis's stint at chairman as well. Davis evidently has been told to expect a prominent position in the administration if McCain wins, and has already been quietly trying to line up prospective staff if that happens. It won't happen, of course, but I expect that that was one factor in Davis's decision to retire.
posted by gsteff at 2:41 PM on October 4, 2008

I am not going to let the GOP get away with turning politics into a matter of personal destruction and culture wars, then call themselves "disillusioned" when they are on the losing end.

Damned straight. From Buchanan's "Larger Half" to Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Limbaugh & the rest of talk radio, Rove, Bush and Cheney, they've worked nonstop to poison the public discourse. They've turned political differences into personal vendettas -- not just against their political opponents, but against the civilians who support them as well. This started at the national level, but it's seeped into local politics as well.

The Democrats stayed on the high road, and it nearly destroyed them. Compromise has been impossible under Bush and DeLay. The only options left all keep the partisanship going.

Maybe an Obama victory and large congressional majorities could change things. But the last 40 years of politics can't be undone so quickly.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:44 PM on October 4, 2008

But to do that they'd have had to repudiate Bush and the war -- which Tom Davis still refuses to do.

That's seriously overstating the case. In the article, Davis pretty clearly indicates that he believes the decision to invade was a mistake, but that he doesn't want to discuss it in any more detail. And there's plenty of kvetching about Bush in the article.
posted by gsteff at 2:47 PM on October 4, 2008

Am I the only one who can't help but associate SLNYT to Single Link, Not YouTube?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:54 PM on October 4, 2008

gsteff writes "In the article, Davis pretty clearly indicates that he believes the decision to invade was a mistake, but that he doesn't want to discuss it in any more detail. And there's plenty of kvetching about Bush in the article."

That's not leadership. Merely hinting that the war is a mistake doesn't get us out any sooner.
posted by orthogonality at 3:25 PM on October 4, 2008

What does it mean to manage a bill? /washingtonoutsider

serious question, actually
posted by brain cloud at 3:38 PM on October 4, 2008

As for Bush, Davis long ago lost faith. “He’s a disappointment,” Davis said. “How else do you say it?” In his view, Bush grew isolated and surrounded himself with people who made bad decisions. The president, he lamented, failed to effectively tackle a rising deficit, Medicare and Social Security. He rose to the occasion after terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, but not after Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast. “I would vote for him again against John Kerry; that’s not an issue,” Davis said. “But I’m disappointed just in terms of his stewardship. I wrote the Katrina report. Just the fact that he wasn’t down there the next day and he flew over it in Air Force One to get a view of it — that, to me, is not leadership.”
posted by zippy at 3:50 PM on October 4, 2008

Sorry, meant to put that line in bold: “I would vote for him again against John Kerry; that’s not an issue,” Davis said.

For some, even 20-20 hindsight isn't enough.
posted by zippy at 3:52 PM on October 4, 2008 [4 favorites]

After Reagan and the victories of '94 a lot of Republicans began to believe their own hype. They really thought they could spearhead a kind of bloodless revolution. Gerrymandering and exploitation of divisive "wedge" issues were nothing new, but they became a means to an end that went beyond a single election year. It was like a new Manifest Destiny. The triumph of "conservative" principles was seemingly at hand: permanent control of all branches of government and a top-to-bottom redefinition of American politics. Talk radio and the balkanization of the national press only helped them maintain control of their own surprisingly disparate constituents.

Meanwhile, Democrats got scared and then jealous. They began to play the new "game." Each party spent more and more time and money demonizing their opponent. In strategy sessions they would wonder how it could done; how could the killing blow be administered? Each party pitted its constituents against one another like two pit bulls in a bloodstained enclosure.

But they have a problem. Their Rovian machinations work great in a campaign, and sure enough politics has become a sort of endless campaign, but once in power they find it rather difficult to get anything done. Neither one was or is anywhere near a truly dominant majority, but they have staked their images on the hatred of the Other.

The citizen sitting at home watching Fox News or MSNBC doesn't care much for compromise. They are victims of this revolution but they were borne out of it as monsters. Poorly informed and yet rabid in defense of their so-called opinions, ignorant of the strange bedfellows that make up their own party's identity, inured to a belief system that essentially divides this country down the middle, they are unwitting soldiers in a Cold Civil War.

Plenty of politicians realize how badly things have gone wrong. Tom Davis probably does. But nothing will change until members of both parties are willing to disarm, to shelve the "nuclear option," to shun the firebrands in their own ranks, to usher in a period of détente.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that you're right and they're wrong. The correct answer to most truly difficult questions is: "I don't know, but I will try to know." But that answer doesn't go over too well in politics, which is why compromise is so important. We need to stop being so afraid of our own failure and the success of the Other that we refuse to agree on anything beyond banal platitudes.

The first step is to disabuse ourselves of several notions: that American Democracy is somehow the pinnacle of human expression; that the Constitution should be interpreted as though it had been drafted yesterday; that a "free" market can even exist much less be a harbinger of liberty and freedom; that success is synonymous with an ever-increasing income; that every problem has as its solution a government program or agency; that money and military power confers a moral advantage; that everyone deserves a slice of pie; that you can live a life of utter selfishness and ignorance and still bestow upon yourself the mantle of patriotism.

The "game" Tom Davis no longer feels like playing is leading us ever closer to a fascism of industry and image and hollow ideals. What's really to be done about it? I don't know, but I will try to find out.
posted by kurtroehl at 4:13 PM on October 4, 2008 [13 favorites]

I felt the message of this article was one about how traditional Republicans--the Republicans of low spending and small government--were slowly finding themselves pushed out of the party.

I have more sympathy for those Republicans. I don't agree with their policies, but I feel bad because they essentially shot themselves in the foot. They hopped on the social conservative fundy train because (I'm guessing) they didn't anticipate where it would go. It was going to get them into power, and then they'd start implementing their base party platform. But before they knew it, their base party platform wasn't fiscal responsibility and small government, it was crazy social conservative measures and killing the Muslims and implementing huge monitoring programs.

It seemed to me this article told that story. A dude who threw in with the social conservative movement, assuming he'd still be able to address his particular interests, a dude who worked really hard for that movement, and then in the end found himself shut out because all that stuff worked too well and he became obsolete.

I wonder if we will see a third party come up, one made up of the economically and politically conservative but socially moderate Republicans who are being rejected from the current GOP.
posted by schroedinger at 4:25 PM on October 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

What does it mean to manage a bill?

Basically, you become the primary sponsor. You're responsible for lining up support, soliciting amendments, and being the liaison between your peers and the whip (who is ultimately responsible for counting noses before votes). There are some parliamentary fillips that go along with this, in terms of moving it through subcommittees and the like, but basically they're saying "this is your ball, run with it".

I saw this guy a bit like my dad, who was really an independent, but put a BUSH MADE ME A DEMOCRAT sign on the van. Davis isn't that far out the door, but he's definitely thinking that his party has been hijacked in the same terms that the rest of feel the country has been hijacked. *shrug* Politics is what it is. As a Dem I couldn't care less whether the GOP's ranks thin through attrition or disillusion, but the latter does make our job a bit easier.
posted by dhartung at 4:47 PM on October 4, 2008

Well, I wish I could coin some new term for this kind of tacit or passive tolerance of fascism or irresponsibility within one's own party or brand. We've seen it among moderate Republicans while Rove torched the all the lubricants in the engine of democracy. Fareed Zakaria called for a response from moderate Muslims immediately after 911 (in the WSJ I believe) and indicted them (rightly or wrongly) for not doing anything. Wall Street was flush with new money but resistant to any oversight or transparency (and mostly still is). What's that quote, all that is required for evil to succeed is for just men to remain silent?
posted by newdaddy at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

kurtroehl I've asked other people espousing this line of reasoning a simple question. The answer I've gotten, time and again, is that merely asking the question is sufficient proof that I'm far too rabidly partisan to bother answering.

You keep blaming "both sides", you said "until members of both parties are willing to disarm, to shelve the "nuclear option," to shun the firebrands in their own ranks"

What "firebrands" do you see on the left?

You said that the left got jealous and is now part of the problem because it spends too much time demonizing its opponents. Can you show me any parity between the eliminationist rhetoric on right wing talk radio and *anything* on the left? Just one liberal with an audience in the millions who calls for Republicans to be executed and/or put into concentration camps?

If you do not have such examples, how can you blame both sides for what is clearly a problem coming largely (if not exclusively) from the right? When one side has Limbaugh, Coulter, O'Rilly, Savage (Weiner), Pat Robertson, Don Wildmon, and literally hundreds of others, and the other has Michael Moore (who has yet to call for the death or imprisonment of people for merely being conservative) I don't see it as being a problem of both sides and I'm baffled as to how you can.

Can you explain, or from your POV have I betrayed myself as too hopelessly partisan to bother speaking with?
posted by sotonohito at 8:49 PM on October 4, 2008 [10 favorites]

sotonohito: So, you're saying that conservatives have a more aggressive and well-oiled attack machine? I couldn't agree more, but that's not to say that counterparts in the progressive movement don't exist. They most certainly do. They don't call for death and imprisonment and other brash rhetoric because that's not their shtick. They tend more towards righteous indignation, smug invocations of the rule of law, and passive aggressive mud-slinging.

Anyway, what's your point really? The people you listed are mostly media blowhards. What about the politicians and their handlers/backers? What about the absolute paralysis of the United States Congress? Democrats thought they struck a blow in 2006 and what have they accomplished except to further erode civil liberties and legitimize an illegal war all while passing sanctimonious resolutions on this and that issue that mean absolutely fuck-all.

Your argument seems to be that Limbaugh et al are horrid creatures (which they are) and therefore it is irrelevant what our side does because they started it. Neither side thinks it can afford to back down first, which is why we're at such a stalemate. For proof look no further than the expansion and abuse of executive power during the last eight years. Look at the influence of corporations in our political discourse. Look at the pathetic display of leadership during this economic meltdown. Nothing but finger-pointing and tired cliches. It's disgusting. Personally I think bawling about some biased media personalities is a fairly useless expression of your displeasure.
posted by kurtroehl at 10:09 PM on October 4, 2008

What good was impeachment going to do anyway when Dick Cheney would have become vice president?

Impeach Cheney, then impeach Bush.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:41 PM on October 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Decrying increasing corporate control of the government and claiming that both sides are too partisan to get anything done are separate things. In fact, the recent obscenity during the economic meltdown was quite happily bi-partisan. Members of both parties reached across the partisan divide to do the bidding of their corporate owners.

In fact, I note that as Glenn Greenwald has observed on every issue of major importance there has been a surplus of bi-partisanship [1]. At least if you define bi-partisanship to mean "the Republicans vote in lockstep and conservative branch of the Democrats gives them enough votes to push through a radical right wing agenda aided and abetted by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi".

Look at the votes on all the major issues and you will find that around 95% of Republicans vote on the party line, and around 50% of the Democrats find a reason to side with the lockstep Republicans.

Far from seeing gridlock, or a congress so divided that it can't do anything I think a realistic look shows the exact opposite: congress is quite capable of acting quickly and decisively to do the work of right wing extremists and the corporate fat cats.

I bring up the media because I assume that when you brought up the demonization of political opponents that's what you were talking about. While there is some back and forth among the elected politicians, its generally quite low key. For the most part the demonization comes from their media surrogates, and for the most part only Republicans have media surrogates.

You are quite correct in your assessment that following the '06 elections the Democrats haven't done much except continue to persue a radical right wing agenda. I'm baffled as to how you can look at that and decide that the problem is too much partisanship. I'd say its evidence of too little partisanship, that gridlock would be vastly preferable to a Democratic establishment that does nothing to push a Democratic agenda, but rather colludes with the worst and most extreme examples of right wing evil.

Again, can you show me actual examples of the Democrats being too partisan? So far the only specific you've brought up was an example of what I see as typical Democratic capitulation to Republican extremism, not an example of Democrats being too partisan.

[1] If you're too scared of Greenwald's nasty partisanship to read his article, I've copied the relevant portion (the vote summary) here:

To support the new Bush-supported FISA law:

GOP - 48-0

Dems - 12-36

To compel redeployment of troops from Iraq:

GOP - 0-49

Dems - 24-21

To confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General:

GOP - 46-0

Dems - 7-40

To confirm Leslie Southwick as Circuit Court Judge:

GOP - 49-0

Dems - 8-38

Kyl-Lieberman Resolution on Iran:

GOP - 46-2

Dems - 30-20

To condemn

GOP - 49-0

Dems - 23-25

The Protect America Act:

GOP - 44-0

Dems - 20-28

Declaring English to be the Government's official language:

GOP - 48-1

Dems - 16-33

The Military Commissions Act:

GOP - 53-0

Dems - 12-34

To renew the Patriot Act:

GOP - 54-0

Dems - 34-10

Cloture Vote on Sam Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court:

GOP - 54-0

Dems - 18-25

Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq:

GOP - 48-1

Dems - 29-22
posted by sotonohito at 5:44 AM on October 5, 2008 [6 favorites]

Davis is the congressman for the district my parents live in, and where I grew up. He's a "moderate" Republican in the sense that the term once meant something, but no longer does -- and came into congress, if I remember correctly, with the 1994 class of Gingrich revolutionaries. He may be a decent guy, but he's quite conservative, and represents a district that is now much more liberal than him -- in a state where the Republican party has fallen apart and veered hard to the right. Davis was going to be crushed in the Senate race against Mark Warner, and he's probably lucky that the lunatics in the state party cheated him out of the nomination by bypassing a primary and nominating luckless former governor Jim Gilmore (whose single accomplishment can be summed up in the idiotic yard signs that accompanied his run for governor - "No Car Tax!"). Gilmore, of course, is going to get wiped out even worse than Davis -- who can kick up his feet and play victim with the NYT.
posted by sloweducation at 7:19 AM on October 5, 2008

Their Rovian machinations work great in a campaign... but once in power they find it rather difficult to get anything done.

I don't know about that. It'll be a generation before anyone even knows what they did, let alone what it cost us. Don't go writing them off as incompetent or ineffective before we actually dig in and figure out what deliberate, lucrative damage they really wrought.

When you get far enough out in history, you start condensing. That's why those history books can sum up a hundred years in three our four sentences sometimes. When we look back on the last eight years, what's the summary? I imagine it'll be something like:

Between 2000 and 2008, a small group of ex-oil executives ran the country. They used a series of aggressive actions overseas and domestic tampering to drive the price of oil from $24 per barrel in 2000 to a high of over $100, while solidifying their industry's own wealth and power for decades to come.
posted by rokusan at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ok, sotonohito, I'm not sure where you've found the notion in my original post that I'm primarily concerned with, as you call it, partisan politics. Being partisan is not necessarily a bad thing, and notice I never used that word at all. Argument between the two parties is inevitable, but let it be substantive. Let it lead to real debate. That's how real decisions get made. Ignore the morons on both sides, their content is nothing but propaganda (and don't tell me there aren't any left-wing examples of this. How 'bout General Betrayus? Seriously?). It's the identity politics; this constant stream of smears, blithe obfuscation and outright lies that bothers me. And it comes from Congress-critters as well as talk radio hosts and blogs. Are the Republicans worse? Yes, of course! I'm voting Obama no question, but I'm still disgusted by the character of politics today, and I'm apprehensive about O's ability to push things through our calcified Congress.

As for your list, the fact that the GOP managed to ram FISA and the Patriot Act etc down the throats of Democrats too afraid or too vulnerable to object is supposed to prove what, exactly? That the only legislation passed by Congress is either a complete abomination or a pork-laden behemoth with a Burma Shave ad tacked on? Yup!

The bills you list there all seem, except for one, to have been Republican-sponsored and most are either empty resolutions or confirmation votes on political footballs like Mukasey. They're part and parcel of a larger condition. The reason the GOP nominated Mukasey is the same reason Dems like Hillary voted for war authorization: to cover their ass and to pander to their (potential) constituents.

So I'm really confused as to why you would cite those votes as some sort of refutation of my argument. The Republicans take the lead drafting truly deplorable legislation and then, after they slap on a clever name like PATRIOT Act, they dare Democrats from more centrist districts or states to vote against it, and ta-da! And after 2006 can't you see the Democrats (Reid and Pelosi especially) trying so hard to beat the Republicans at their own game? They're really not very good at it, though, which is why their approval rating is lower than President Shrub's. Their leadership has been pretty sad, it's true.

Now that I've - as you would have it - deigned to converse with such a partisan individual, I wonder if you could possibly justify your wholehearted support for either party at this time?
posted by kurtroehl at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2008

kurtroehl wrote "And after 2006 can't you see the Democrats (Reid and Pelosi especially) trying so hard to beat the Republicans at their own game?"

No, actually I can't see that. Can you show me examples? I've noticed that in general Reid and Pelosi seem to go out of their way to *avoid* forcing votes on issues that might harm their Republican friends.

To take the most recent example, consider the fate of the solitary amendment (in the Senate) to the bailout bill. It was a measure to fund (at least partially) the bailout via a new tax on those earing over $500,000 per year individually or $1,000,000 as a couple. Now if Reid had been trying to beat the Republicans at their own game, he would have made the vote on the amendment a normal vote so that the Democrats could slam vulnerable Republicans with "he voted against letting the rich pay for the bailout" ads. Instead Reid made the vote on the amendment a voice vote, that is one with no records of who voted what way thus preventing any such effective ads during a critical election.

The list I presented is not something Greenwald cherrypicked, its a list of the substantiative legislation the Senate has voted on. If its tilted to the right wing its Reid's fault for not introducing progressive legislation, and you may have noticed that he *hasn't* introduced any progressive legislation. That too would have been an example of the sort of thing you seem to think exists, but it hasn't happened. Since acquiring a "majority" [1] the Democrats have not introduced any progressive legislation. Of course Bush would veto it, but if we were seeing a bitterly divided and uncooperative Congress wouldn't that be the point? "George Bush vetoed children's healthcare. Senator X loves Bush, why does Senator X hate America's children?"

Your position, so far as I understand it, is that there's too much nasty infighting and not enough getting things done. I'm simply not seeing any nasty infighting, what I see, as demonstrated by the list of bills and votes, is a Republican minority voting in lockstep and a number of "bi-partisan" Democrats helping them advance a right wing agenda. There is quite a lot getting done in Washington, unfortunately what's getting done is passing a lot of laws that make the right wing extremists feel good.

I ask again: where is the nasty evil bitter infighting from the Democrats? The existence of this seems to be key to your position, but I don't see it anywhere and you don't seem to be able to link to it. MoveOn's Betrayus ad is actually a perfect example, it was an effective ad against Bush's ass kissing lackey, and rather than stand by it, rather than defend MoveOn (as you know the Republicans in the Senate would have defended a similarly nasty comment from one of their shills) over half of the Democrats in the Senate voted to condemn MoveOn. That's not an example of the Democrats doing what the Republicans are, its an example of capitulation and surrender on the part of the Democrats. A motion to condemn Limbaugh for his entire career of saying things much worse than MoveOn ever has wouldn't even get to the floor, much less pass.

What evidence has lead you to believe that the Democrats are trying to be nasty? I'm simply not seeing it, can you show me what convinced you?

[1] In scare quotes because it depends on Joe "I'm an evil traitor" Lieberman not defecting to the party where his true allegiance lies. And, as more evidence for my position, you'll note that Reid has repeatedly sworn that even if the Democrats get a true majority he won't strip Joe the traitor of his positions.
posted by sotonohito at 6:04 PM on October 5, 2008

We're not seeing one another here. I'm not talking about infighting. That's partisanship, that's natural. I'm talking about both sides trying to project an image of fighting the other for the very fabric of the nation while really doing nothing at all (at best). We really are in agreement, for the most part I think. Except for the Betrayus ad, which I thought was pathetic and really rather despicable. In any case I am reverting to my usual lurk status so if you wish to continue please send me a mail.

P.S. always a pleasure carrying on a conversation with someone who dares to inform themselves. Cheers.
posted by kurtroehl at 6:49 PM on October 5, 2008

Amen DU! The GOP chased started the culture war, chased Clinton's girlfriends, elected Bush, etc. And all by claiming they spent less money while they really spent far far more. Let them burn.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:25 PM on October 5, 2008

I felt the message of this article was one about how traditional Republicans--the Republicans of low spending and small government--were slowly finding themselves pushed out of the party.

And they didn't give a crap about their "ideologies" being compromised while they were still winning elections. So yeah, F them.
posted by inigo2 at 7:00 AM on October 6, 2008

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