The Democrats are the superior political party. I admit it. At the game of politics which, according to dictionary.com, means “taking advantage of a political situation or issue, exploiting a political system or political relationships or dealing with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way,” the Democrats are clearly better, or perhaps less bad, than the Republicans. Last week’s election certainly provided ample proof: The Republicans’ unfettered ineptitude has allowed a party which has been excruciatingly reluctant to articulate an agenda and whose main stances on issues have constituted condemnations of whatever the Republican stances are to lead the country. Apparently, it’s a winning strategy. No need to articulate positions that could be controversial, just wait for the other guys to screw up enough, which in Washington is inevitable, and then … YOU’RE IN!
Indeed, a combination of absolute corruption, Reps. Foley, Ney and Cunningham deserve a big thanks. Extremely poor leadership – props to former House Speaker Hastert – and division within the party over the war, loyalty to G-Dub and the idiotic instructions of strategist Karl Rove spelled out resounding V-I-C-T-O-R-Y for the other party. The current Republican Party – which is supposedly based on a commitment to a limited government and personal freedom – partook in unprecedented fiscal irresponsibility and social spending unrivaled by previous Republican delegations. Worse, by ceding to political strategy and in an effort to “appeal to the base,” the Republicans devoted unwarranted attention to the issues of stem-cell research, gay marriage and abortion, and articulated positions on each that were fundamentally inconsistent with the Republican assertion for limiting the government’s role in citizens’ personal lives.
Admittedly, politicians must confront several challenges that result from the glaring disparity between the short-term decision-making that yields the best results in electoral politics and the long-term process that is best for leading the country. With last week’s election, it certainly becomes clear that, at least over the last four years, the Democrats have confronted these challenges much more effectively than the Republicans. The personal ambitions of politicians and their desire to advance their own positions created the downfall of the Republican Senate majority and served as the reason the Republicans never actually had one. The assumption that 55 politicians claiming the same party identification will really work together to advance the cause of the party as a whole – even if it is detrimental to their own political prospects – is unfortunately unlikely.
Perhaps a reflection on their smugness in their technical majority status, McCain and Frist, former presidential contenders for ’08, consistently attempted to distinguish themselves, and thus separated themselves from the rest of the party. That the Democrats recognized last week’s election and the possibility of gaining a Congressional majority as foremost on their agenda was a real advantage in that it subverted the shrewd presidential aspirations of Sen. Clinton. As such, they worked as a much more cohesive unit in pursuit of relative gains.
Serious abuses of power were present on both sides, but were much more destructive to the Republicans given the ability of the leftist media to soften blows to Democrats. Sen. Harry Reid’s $1.1 million landfall profit from the sale of a $400,000 piece of land to a lobbyist didn’t garner nearly the attention of Rep. Cunningham’s similarly shady pursuits. On CNN’s “American Morning,” the day after the Reid story broke, and nearly two weeks after Foley resigned, the show aired 18 minutes of Foley stories and 35 seconds on Harry Reid.
What does all of this mean? Other than the fact that the affairs of the nation will be conducted under Democratic “leadership” and that President Bush is condemned to finish out his term as a lame duck, this election should also serve as a reminder to the Republicans of the vulnerability of their position and the slickness with which the opposition can and will exploit any mishaps. Either they must be the party of principal or they will cease to be a party.
Daily Nexus columnist Courtney Stevens is just waiting for her editors to screw up so she can take their jobs.