Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Republican scandals: Ongoing, coming to a head & taking a toll

By The (liberal)Girl Next Door

It’s kind of fun sitting back and watching the myriad of Republican scandals coming to a head and taking a toll on a normally united party, although I’m cautiously optimistic about how these developments will translate into a big win for Democrats come November.

Over the last few weeks we have heard that Patrick Fitzgerald may be getting ready to lay out his case against Karl Rove; Gayle Norton resigned from her post as Secretary of the Interior perhaps due to the Abramoff investigation getting closer and closer to her office door; Andrew Card has “resigned” as chief of staff to President Bush, most likely in an attempt to appease Republicans on the Hill who are begging the White House for a shake up; and Tom DeLay has withdrawn from his Congressional race in Texas. The ongoing investigations into the Republicans’ “pay-to-play” style of governing, and the White House’s potentially illegal retaliatory politics and ensuing cover-ups, have been chugging along behind the scenes and we may be in for a summer of fun. Iced tea and indictments -- sounds so refreshing I can hardly wait.

With President Bush’s approval numbers stuck in the 30 percent range, the war in Iraq continuing to spiral out of control, and the possibility that he could lose his brain (Rove) to the CIA leak case and more GOP legislators to the Abramoff probe, it’s hard to see how the Republicans dig themselves out of this hole of their own making. And now that John McCain has decided to make nice with the fringe elements of the religious right, there doesn’t seem to be anyone left in the Republican Party who can counter the “out of touch,” “in it for themselves,” and “party of corruption” labels. When the mavericks of the party join the fold, who’s left to speak to and for moderate Republican voters?

I was listening to Pat Buchanan on Hardball last night and he made some very astute observations. He said that the economy is doing well, in a macro-economic sense, but that Middle America isn’t sharing in the prosperity. He went on to point out that the loss of jobs due to transnational corporations moving their operations to other countries is a very real concern that is not being addressed because working Americans have been abandoned by both parties. I can’t think of a better indication that the country has moved too far to the right and that politicians in Washington D.C. are firmly in the pockets of big business than Pat Buchanan making the same arguments as liberals. Too bad most Democrats won’t talk like that. It would certainly go a long way toward winning back the support of working Americans if they did.

As these investigations come to a close, there will likely being some fireworks and a few opportunities for Democrats to celebrate, but I’m not dusting off my pom-poms just yet. While it’s always nice to see opportunists and criminals publicly served their just deserts, being against something doesn’t foster the same optimism as being for something. Bush promised to be a “uniter, not a divider,” and we know what a load of crap that was. It’s still a nice idea, though. We are a divided country, but we do seem to be coming together, if only slightly. If a liberal like me can agree with Pat Buchanan (on the rare occasion, but still), clearly there is room for building consensus.

I hope there are some potential leaders out there who really care about uniting the country, leaders who will inspire us, appeal to our better natures, and challenge us to be better citizens, both of this country and of the world. But in order to inspire us to be better, we must be presented with something better, too. We need leaders who are not afraid to take on the transnational corporations. After all, they are not good global citizens, nor do they have any allegiance to this country, so why should we tolerate politicians that protect them at our expense? Support is a two-way street. Speak to us and for us, and we’ll help you every step of the way. I’m not holding my breath as we wait for these leaders to emerge, but I am starting to believe in the possibility that they are out there.

That’s progress, right?

(Cross-posted at The (liberal)Girl Next Door.)

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