It's Time For The Democrats To Start The "Enough, Already" Campaign
Regardless of how you feel about yesterday’s developments, may I suggest that if the Democrats were waiting for an opportune time to finally take the stage and make a claim for power, now is that time? Yes, it would have been a lethal blow for Fitzgerald to also indict Rove yesterday, because it would have finally blown open the GOP talking point that Bush wasn’t involved himself. A Rove indictment or deal, which may still be forthcoming, will forever destroy the claim that this is still a relatively ethical White House. As I have lamented, this didn’t happen and as a result, the Bush sycophants like Charlie Black can spin the idea that Bush is separated from this potential crime, and that it is all Libby’s fault by himself, leaving aside how this is possible when Cheney runs the place.
Yet the initial reaction from the media and academia from the Libby indictment shows that the Democrats have their opening to begin the “Enough, Already” campaign for next year. Here are some possible lines of attack for such a campaign:
Foreign Policy – There are several critical issues that need immediate attention that an ethically bankrupt, secrecy-endangering, morally irresponsible administration cannot address. Iran must be confronted now and suspended from the United Nations; an effort to do this cannot be initiated by an administration that has no moral standing to criticize the belligerency and recklessness in others after what we did in Iraq based on lies. We will have to rely on others to take the lead here, as with North Korea, because this administration has forfeited its moral ability to lead. In the long term the solution is for a Democratic administration in 2009; in the short term the solution is to have the Democrats retake the Congress next year to act as a brake upon the illegality in this administration and to reestablish a bipartisan balance in our foreign policy that can also steer us towards an exit strategy in Iraq separate from the tunnel vision in the current corrupt administration.
Energy Policy – We were told in the aftermath of Katrina that there would be a run-up in prices due to a sudden crimp in supply caused by the damage. Yet just this week several major oil companies reported record-setting profits for the last quarter, indicating that costly supplies aren't the problem, price gouging is. Worse yet, it is price gouging that will go uninvestigated by this Justice Department and this GOP Congress. Democrats need to go immediately on the offensive and promise voters that if they are restored to power in 2007, Big Oil will be thoroughly investigated by Congress, while we pursue an accelerated New Apollo approach towards energy independence from Persian Gulf oil and oil companies for the sake of our own national security.
National Security – And while we are on the subject of national security, Democrats need to take advantage of the Libby indictments and any additional indictments by telling voters that this GOP Congress is complicit in the weakening of our national security by abdicating its oversight role. This GOP leadership has failed to effectively investigate the Plame matter, has whitewashed the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Iraq WMDs, and failed to investigate how the Bush Administration lied to get us into the war. Democrats should promise voters that if they are returned to power in Congress next year, there will be real investigations in 2007 on all these matters so that our national security will no longer be endangered by Bush and the GOP.
Supreme Court – Now is the time for Democrats to put Bush on notice that a right-wing nominee to please his base is a nonstarter, and just another example of how Bush is governing for a small minority in this country and not leading the country towards healing the rifts he himself has created. Yes, if that means the Democrats would have to filibuster a far right nominee, then so be it. Let an ethically-bereft Bill Frist talk about the nuclear option and let the Democrats tell the country what is at stake by allowing an unpopular president and a minority in this country to ram through a right wing judge for the court at this time, a judge who would be hostile to privacy rights, labor and environmental protections, and a judge who would favor private corporate gains over the public interest. The Democrats are in a much better position now to talk openly and preemptively about their desire for Bush to pick a well-qualified jurist and not an ideologue or another crony, and their willingness to filibuster if necessary to protect everyday Americans from corporate and far right domination over their lives for the next several decades. If Bush wants a fight to please his base, give him one.
These are four good places for the Democrats to start the campaign in arguing why America should turn to them now in the face of this administration’s reckless corruption, incompetence, and trashing of our national security. It's time to heal and turn our attention to what is needed here at home, and that cannot be done, nor will it, until this administration is reined in by a Democratic congress in 2007 that pursues accountability, competence, and new policies.