Friday, March 10, 2006

Outside the Bubble


There's a whole impeachment debate brewin' over at TPMcafe. They're drinkin' the good Hi-Test over there (I mean coffee of course)! The DC-types (Josh Marshall, Matt Y, H. Meyerson) all think that impeachment is a 'bad idea'. Unfortunately, no one quite defines what Matt scoffingly calls 'impeachment talk' or what the 'idea' is. Someone (a commenter?) eventually does call it a 'push for impeachment', which is clearer; running on the impeachment of Bush in the '06 election is a bad idea. But I'm not against Dem House members wearing "Hastert for Pres. in '06" tee shirts.

Kaygro X (who's idea the tee shirt thing is) is the point-human on this issue and has done yeoman's work. The practical lesson I take from his The Necessity Of Impeachment series is this: rhetorical power is real power. Your odds of achieving a goal is a separate consideration from knowing you have the right goal and knowing why it's right. Rhetorical power is real power, and doesn't depend on election results (but does influence them over time). Mr X would never admit in advance to being willing to settle for censure or other kinds of compromise. Why do that? Some people have a sense of humor and some people don't. My conclusion is that it's the anti-impeachment talk which is dangerous.

Impeachment of Bush and Cheney should not be a campaign theme in '06 (do any of our DC guys really think it's a possibility?), or even an implacable, inflexible short-term goal, because, unlike abortion or gun control, impeachment 'sunsets' due to the fact that Bush's term will end anyway. But the basic issues involved never sunset, and as Kaygro points out, the same conception of government, and even the same exponents of that view, seem to recur no matter who the Republican president happens to be. Impeachment in this case is a foundation, in the ideological sense - a baseline. Your ideology has to have enough 'vertical integration' to make some kind of sense from end-to-end, or else it will have no power (short circuit = no power). If you believe that the president isn't above the law, can't choose not to enforce legislation via 'signing statements', etc. etc., then you have to stand up for that, at the very least rhetorically. If you don't, you're a bullshit party. Furthermore, you have to be willing and prepared to actually succeed, to go beyond the rhetorical, or else the whole exercise is pointless.

Can Democratic politicians duck and be non-committal on this issue in '06? Of course. But they must NEVER say 'never'.

Meanwhile, in the real world of real, physical papers and magazines, I see I missed a scoop, hanging out so much here in the blog-o-bubble. This is an exclusive report from WWN*:

Washington DC - Beset by scandals, war and low poll ratings, the Republican Party is in trouble.

"All they've got to throw against us in November is fear", said Andrew Spitz, a leading Democratic strategist. "They intend to win like they won in '04, bogusly pitching Democrats as weak on terror. This time, we'll be ready for that baloney."

Perhaps. [Shades of George Will! (penultimate paragraph) ed.] But will they be ready for this? Insiders say that the latest idea to help resurrect the party is to resurrect former president Ronald Reagan, and make him a candidate for the 2008 presidential election.

"The technology is in place", said a chief Republican strategist, who insisted on anonymity. "First we restore Reagan's body, then we reboot his mind, then we return him to office."

"It's a natural. What's the slogan? 'You can't keep a good man down'. Well, Reagan was a great man, so why shouldn't he rise again?"

Republican strategists are jubilant at the prospect.


One potential roadblock is the 22nd Amendment, which limits a candidate to two terms as president. But Republicans see it differently.

"It's two terms during one's lifetime", said the strategist. "If we bring Reagan back, it's a different lifetime, so there are no obstacles."

Democrats are disgusted at the prospect.

"We see what they're doing," said Spitz. "They're trying to solidify their radical right-wing base by equating Reagan with Christ. Well, it won't work. People are smarter than that."

"Well, maybe not those people, but some people are".

"Those are the words of a panicked strategist", said the Republican insider. "Can you imagine a resurrected Reagan running under the slogan 'Bring America Back to Life'? It would be a bigger landslide than Mr Reagan got the first two times!".

See how much we miss staring at computer screens all day? Let's all try and get out a little this weekend and reconnect with the real world, eh?

*Weekly World News

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