...and I can't remember what's first...
Okay, okay...it's an old joke, but then again...
The reason I'm bringing it up at all is because I had one of those horrible, horrible moments yesterday afternoon while listening the All Things Considered on NPR. I was listening to a story about Republican carping about the Democrats so-called "100 Hour Plan". That is, the legislation that they will take up and (presumably) pass in the first 100 hours of their majority status in Congress. The Republicans were carping (more like whinning, really) about "being left out of the process". They were complaining ibtterly about the Democrats drafting their legislation behind closed doors and not allowing Republican amendment, modification or input to the process.
Does that sound familiar?
Of course it does. That's what has been going on with the Republican-controlled Congress for at least six years and remnants of the process go all the way back to Newt Gingrich's "Republican Revolution" in 1994. And, most certainly the process dates back to Tom Delay's leadership era and his vaunted "K-Street Project".
So as the host pointed out, isn't this carping (whinning) a bit...er...ahhhh....HYPOCRITICAL? What NPR did then, apparently in the interest of balance, was interview a Republican to refute these charges. Here's the transcript of that interview.
But Florida Republican Adam Putnam says the situations are not similar.
"The difference is the important point here is that the American people were promised a new way of doing business in the 110th Congress," Putnam says. "There was clearly a high level of frustration in the heartland about the way people viewed the workings and procedures in this building, and they were promised a fresh approach, a fresh start."
Now aside from displaying the phenonemon that there is absolutely no depth to which a Republican Office-holder won't sink to defend his party, there was a horrible feeling that I must have forgotten something during the '06 campaigns. You see, hidden in the words "fresh approach" and "a fresh start" was the code words that President Bush and Dick(head) Cheney have been using for the past week:
Somehow I can't remember any of our candidates on either the National, State, or Local level ever running on a pledge to "restore civility" to government. (The only thing close was REPUBLICAN candidate for Attorney General, J. B. VanHollen promising to restore "dignity" to the AG office which was a veiled slam at Incumbent AG Peg Lautenschlager's DWI charge while in office....but that was a REPUBLICAN and not a pledge of civility either)
I thought I was suffering from a case of early-onset Alzheimer's until I read Digby this morning....he starts out with this piece from a Washington Post Oped:
The episode illustrates the dilemma facing the new party in power. The Democrats must demonstrate that they can break legislative gridlock and govern after 12 years in the minority, while honoring their pledge to make the 110th Congress a civil era in which Democrats and Republicans work together to solve the nation's problems.
and then he gives me the "money shot".......
Really? I remember the Democrats' campaign pledges to restore openness, although I think they were mostly discussing the need to shed light on the most secretive administration in American history. But I honestly don't remember them running on restoring bipartisanship and working with Republicans to solve the nation's problems.
The Dems ran on a platform to stop the Republican insanity, not to "work with them" and I think those of us in the Democratic base might have noticed if they did that. The only person in the country who ran explicitly on his bipartisan credentials was Joe Lieberman and he was running against a Democrat.
Thank GOD! It's not Alzheimers!
As always this Republican theme has been blasted loudly over the great Republican Noise machine and they have MISSED NO OPPORTUNITY to play the theme.
Bush used it in his guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.
Cheney, Bush 41 and Bush 43 mentioned the words civil or civility repeatedly during the funeral of former President Gerald Ford (don't get me started on the utter tastlessness of using the funeral to play out a political theme.)
As Digby rightly points out, this is a nasty little trap set for our Democratic leadership and they would be wise to recognize it and avoid it. I think the best thing for Nancy, Harry and company to do right now is plow ahead with their "100-Hour Agenda" and ignore the carping. Pretty soon the news media will have to start paying attention to what the Democrats are doing and ignore the Great Republican Wurlitzer....
btw: If you want an example of how the "Wurlitzer" works, tune in to Ben Mehrens show on WPR at 4 PM today....he has the American Enterprise Institute on to talk about the challenges to the Democratic Congress....so the Repubs get another hour to spew their talking points.....
Image at top: Is a picture of the sculture "Memory" by French....beautiful work....