Wednesday :: May 31, 2006

Is There A Lesser Of Two Evils?

by pessimist

The 1919 Black Sox might be getting some company soon.

Despite polls indicating that ethics issues could affect GOP chances this fall - a fact recognized by the former GOP House Campaign chief Rep. Tom Davis (R.-Va.) ('We Could Lose House!') - there is some question as to whether or not the Democrats want to win this November.

Some feel that the Democrats could be about to make some critical mistake that could cost them the electoral victory this fall. Others wonder if the Democrats aren't going to throw the election due to the miserable problems facing the winner:

Democrats not confident they want to take control
May 27, 2006

A number of political analysts are saying enough congressional seats are now in play to give Democrats a realistic chance of retaking control of the House of Representatives in the fall. Interestingly, many Republicans don’t necessarily think that is altogether a bad idea, while many Democrats are not so sure they really want the prize just yet.

The Democratic Party’s liberal base believes its leaders are gutless and feckless, afraid or unwilling to confront the White House on Iraq, torture, wiretaps, tax giveaways to the rich and other issues. Democratic strategists are wondering whether control of the House might play into the Republicans’ hands in 2008. They figure Democrats won’t be able to do much to advance their agenda but will give Republicans a foil and an excuse for their own failures. This could end up helping Republicans keep the White House in 2008 and possibly retake control of the House.

On the other hand, strategists say, winning a few seats this fall, but not enough for control, might be optimum for the Democrats. They would bloody the Republicans, embolden the Democratic base and put them in a better position to win it all in 2008 - the White House and Congress. They fear that retaking the White House before the Iraq war is resolved will force them to do all the dirty work of cleaning up the mess. They worry that the Democratic Party could end up with all the blame for a war it didn’t start in the same way Republicans ended up with most of the blame for Vietnam.

Other Democrats worry that the fiscal disaster Republicans have created will require politically unpopular tax increases and spending cuts during the next president’s term. Better to let the Republicans fix this problem, too, before regaining power, some Democrats argue.

This assessment of the probabilities might explain why former Rep. Richard Gephardt reportedly made private remarks supporting this 'save-it-for-later' position.

Gephardt expresses Nov. doubt
By Bob Cusack
May 24, 2006

Political observers are split on whether the anticipated anti-Republican wave will lead to a change of power in the 110th Congress, with some saying the wave will be big enough to conquer incumbents who enjoy gerrymandered districts and fundraising advantages. During a private meeting in San Francisco last week, former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) expressed doubt that Democrats will win control of the House this fall, according to knowledgeable sources.

During a lunch sponsored by the Gerson Lehrman investment-consulting firm at the Omni Hotel, the 2004 presidential candidate and House minority leader from 1995 to 2003 said the lack of competitive races and gerrymandered districts could help House Republicans retain a narrower majority in the next Congress, the sources said.

But when asked about his comments, Gephardt suggested that people might have misconstrued what he said because they had expected him to predict a resounding victory this fall.

Interestingly, at least two former Kansas Republicans disagree with Gephardt's assessment, or else they wouldn't have become Democrats:

Ex-Kansas GOP chair switches affiliation
By JOHN MILBURN, Associated Press Writer
May 30

The former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party jumped ship in a big way Tuesday, switching his affiliation to Democrat amid speculation that he would become Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' running mate. Johnson County Elections Commissioner Brian Newby confirmed that Mark Parkinson, the state GOP chairman from 1999 to 2003, came to the office and switched his party affiliation shortly before noon. Parkinson's name has been widely circulated as Sebelius' choice for a running mate as the Democratic governor seeks a second term. Current Lt. Gov. John Moore — another former Republican — is retiring when his term expires in early 2007.

Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison also switched parties from Republican to Democrat to challenge Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican, in the November election.

They must have more confidence in their new party's prospects than the old members do. One of their former Kansas GOP colleagues had an interesting observation to make concerning the situation:

The Republican Party, which has dominated Kansas politics since statehood, has shifted to the right in recent years - and it inevitably will shift back to the left, Republican House Speaker Doug Mays said.

I'm torn about this situation myself. On the one hand, I see the problems facing the Democrats concerning taking power in the aftermath of the Bu$hCo assault on America. The economy is facing a precipitous decline, and the massive foreign debt will have to be serviced. This will require deep cuts in just about every program left in the Federal budget. Anyone who wants to know what this is going to mean is invited to look into the travails of Argentina since the IMF effectively took over their nation to protect the 'investment' of foreign interests.

On the other hand, I don't see where the GOP should be 'rewarded' for their gross mismanagement of the nation. It would serve them right to have to solve the problems they've created, but can we really be sure they won't just make the problems worse?

We already know that the Democrats aren't up to the challenge of keeping the GOP honest, and we suspect that they aren't up to the challenge of repairing the damage either.

It's Hobson's Choice. The Lady or the Tiger. We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

Thanks, George.

For nothing.

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