EJ Dionne ( click here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/... ) calls GOP leaders incompetent for pushing the final passage of controversial legislation during the holiday season.
He writes, "The Republican leaders may or may not pass their cut-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich budget. It takes a degree of political incompetence usually associated with Democrats for the side that wants to preserve the true spirit of Christmas to invite so many coal-in-the-stocking metaphors at this time of year."
Agree though I may that Republican policies are cruel, ineffective, and unsound ways to manage public policy, it cannot be said that the Republicans are ineffective for urging passage during this time of year.
Find out why after the flip:
The tragedy that we must face is that at least one of the bad pieces of legislation will be advanced to the president in the upcoming days. The passage of these bills represents anything but ineffectiveness or incompetence.
When this happens, Democratic and liberal organizations will certainly rush to condemn Republican actions as heartless and cruel. We'll likely see certain press releases adorned with images of coal. Other creative reactions might in fact involved coal being sent to congressional offices.
The Republicans, however, are acting shrwedly and effectively by passing any major legsilation as the first session of the 109th comes to a close.
We already know that the house leaders plan to keep the body closed through most of January. By passing legislation now, they ensure that their actions occur at a time when no congressional news will be forthcoming. Making matters worse, people are paying less attention to politics during the holiday season. While many of us will be fighting with partisan relatives at Christmas parties and other family gatherings, politics is clearly on the backburner during the Holiday season. For weeks people are clearly more consumed with the afformentioned holiday parties, vacations, New Year's, Bowl Games, Recovering from hangovers, and not to mention earning a living.
The test of effective poltical advocacy in this case is to see whether these issues remain important during the holiday season while people are distracted and focused on other things.
One answer might be that we have these issues in reserve for the election year. This is true, but passing things now while people are focused elsewhere raises the height of the believability hurdle during he election year. It is imperative that any democratic response strike a cord immediately. To do so would be a giant step forward in Democratic communications infrastructure. From this I ask, what would you have the Democrats emphasize during the holiday season response to Republican atrocities, and how would you propose making this an effective and salient attack? Keeping in mind that the goal is to get people to listen.
Republicans are handing us a golden goose full of corruptoin scandals. It is encouraging to see that yesterday brought us the conviction of James Tobin in New Hampshire. This gives us more evidence yet that he Republican party is corrupt to the core: from petty activist to experienced operatives. But there is yet another issue that we can't let escape as the the Holidays pass and the year ends.
As liberals and Democrats and centrists (centrists ought to be outraged as well) it is our duty to do all of these things. Republicans must pay the maximum price for this policy. January 1 is the offical start of the election year, let the games begin.