One Eyed, One Horned, Flying…

As the new year was being rung in by millions of people all accross the world, I was right here, slaving away at some preliminary predictions about 2006, particularly in the realm of midterm elections. Truth be known, I had always intended this to be a two part post, however my track record for multiple part stories has been rather poor, so instead of telling you there was more, and then dissappointing you, I’ve just kept it quiet. Well, here it is, a further look at what’s to come, only this time, our focus is going to be a little broader than it was in the last post, as you’ll soon see.

Abromis? Abromakuh? Aw Forget It

One thing that may be baffling many of you is my lack of anything to say about the developing Jack Abramoff scandal. But those of you that remember my initial response to the Fitzgerald investigation may have a pretty good bead on where I’m at on this potential catastrophe.

Depending on which news source you are coming from, Jackie’s singing career could result in anywhere from 6 to 60 congressmen going down in a blaze of bribery, and most of them seem to be calling this the biggest political scandal in decades. I can see my liberal friends in bloggerdom licking their chops in anticipation, and yet I, much like when my fellow liberal bloggers were dubbing the Fitzgerald investigation “Fitzmas”, find myself with an intense feeling of bah humbug.

The fact of the matter is that we just don’t know. I find it interesting that the media seems to be brilliant at showing prudence at times when prudence isn’t warranted, and yet its prudence fails them when perhaps they should be showing some. Case in point, another huge story that came out recently is the NSA wiretap story. The NY Times dropped this story just a couple of weeks ago, yet it had the story back in 04. Considering that the last presidential election was decided over a scant few percentage points, it is reasonable to assume that had that story been dropped when they first had it, we would have a different president right now (but of course, the Times is a liberal hate spewing machine, right?).

And yet in this case, the media is playing the full out drama queen prior to us knowing who will be indicted.

Now don’t get me wrong, this could, and in most likelihood, will be big. But the thing is that how big it is is not the only significant factor. As Chris Cillizza’s points out in his WaPo blog, “The Fix,” pre Abramoff polls show that Democrats show a slight advantage over Republicans in regards to ethics. But equally as important as the edge Dems hold over Reps is the continuing vote of non confidence in either party. I’ll also allow you to marvel over the irony of the fact that Americans are polling Bush as better capable of handling ethics than either party.

But it gets worse from there. If this scandal were to hit Republicans only, that would be one thing, but right now that’s not where this is going. There is talk of a few Dems getting roped in, and one of those names is Senate Majority Leader Reid. Even though the Senator has maintained not ever even being in the same room as Jackie boy, if he were to be roped into this scandal, it could prove to be just as devestating for Democrats as Republicans.

Further, this could all turn out to be bunch of hype, and instead of getting a bunch of big names, we get a few small fry congressmen, and some aides.

So when it comes to the Abramoff situation, as much as I want to believe, I think you would be a fool to start making serious long reaching predictions regarding possible ramifications this early in the game. I will say this, for this to have a serious effect on the make up of the legislative branch, the outcome of Abramoff’s aria needs to be big, netting several big name Republicans, and it needs to be disproportionately Republican.

… Purple People

I don’t read Andrew Sullivan’s blog. In fact I admit to the cardinal sin in blogdonia of not reading many political blogs at all. My list of frequent reads is a very short one, and contains three insider reads (The Note, Politics1.com, and Chris Cilliza’s The Fix), and a small handful of friends with whom I’ve worked in the past (Fester, Cernig, Alicia, Shamanic, Psotd, and Macswain to name a few). But I’ve been catching Sully on Chris Matthews non cable Sunday morning talk show, and I got to say that I think I just might have to add him to the short list.

This last Sunday, Chris asked the panel who they thought would end up being the rising stars of 06, and Sully came through with the answer that very adequately sums up what I’ve been saying now for what must seem months. To paraphrase (since it was four days ago and I don’t have a transcript), people are tired of red vs. blue (not the funny Halo parody, which, if you haven’t checked out yet, google it, and I’m sure you will laugh your ass off), and therefore you’re going to see a rise in the stock of the purple pols.

What this assertion brilliantly points to is the fact that no one compromises anywhere anymore. There is no compromise; a poor state of affairs from a President who in 2000 promised to be a uniter, and not a divider.

And when we get into all these scandals and grandiose battles on the hill, the impression that I think Joe and Jane sixpack are starting to get is that these people that we are voting into office are spending so much time fighting like schoolyard kids that they don’t have any time left to do the job that we hired them to do.

Not good.

So those few pols who manage to actually come to compromises, who manage to actually get both sides to not just sit down at the table, but also start talking as opposed to throwing their little cups of cole slaw, are no doubt going to shoot up fast in the public standing. Yes, John McCain has an amazing head of steam as presidential hopefuls start to feel out the area.

This is also good news for his Democratic partner Russ Feingold who shares not quite as much star power, but has a little bit of a reputation as an aisle reacher. And of course, you can’t forget my favorite Mark Warner who has a good advantage in being out of a job for much of this year while much of his 08 potential competition still have Senate votes to make and states to govern.

But I want to stay on the subject of compromise because I personally feel that whoever masters this art of negotiation truly will come out the winner in the end. It is a theme I’m sure I will return to countless times in the weeks and moths to come, but I’ll close out this post by giving you a little hint at what I mean.

A New Pact With America

Back in the 90’s, Newt Gingrich tried to push forth this “Pact With America”. It had something to do with term limitations and it lasted for a laughably short time. But it’s a new year, and I think it’s time for a new pact, all be it, a very different one.

Since I’ve been following politics, one of the most frustrating things I’ve observed sitting on the left side of the equation is how uncompromising our side tends to be. I’m not just talking about with the right, but also with the center, and even with each other. This has ultimately led to a break down in the unity of the Democratic Party, and the liberal movement. As a result, instead of getting anything done that we want, we get nothing, and that leaves us in a very sad state of affairs.

We need to end that. We need to actually take a small page from the Republican playbook, and learn to cede certain things while accepting what we can get. There needs to be a new pact between the Democratic Party, and the liberal base.

Only, like a true pact as opposed to Newt’s one sided version, both sides need to give. For the liberals, we need to give up the all or nothing attitude. We have to be willing to accept a few small baby steps backwards in some cases. We have to learn to be content with only a piece of the pie as opposed to the whole thing.

For the pols in whom we hold our trust, they have to understand that we give them a longer leash, but that is only so that they can take the longview of gently nudging the nation left as the opportunity arises.

It is only through this measure of compromise that we can accrue the necessary people power to start moving in the right direction. And we’re not going to get everything we want, but we can get some of it. A great example is universal healthcare. I’ve been at odds with both Cernig, and Doug over the subject though I agree with them wholeheartedly that this would be a benefit to the nation. The problem is that there are way too many pitfalls in pushing forth such legislation as a whole.

So let’s take the Mark Warner approach. In the state of Virginia, there was no way that you would be able to push for a universal state healthcare system. It wouldn’t fly. But what Gov. Warner did do was establish a system for universal healthcare for kids. At this point in time, 97% of children in Virginia have healthcare. And it’s brilliant. It’s brilliant now because you show me the asshole who will vote against a kid getting healthcare, and I’ll show you someone who will get lambasted on his next bid for reelection. It’s brilliant in the longview because after a few cycles, the doors are now open to broaden the scope of universal healthcare to other areas, perhaps the elderly, or the poverty stricken, or what have you until ten twenty years down the line, it is a true health care system.

It’s about the compromise, and it’s about the purple.

Till next time

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