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Thomas Edsall's op-ed in today's New York Timesis a Broderesque piece of inside baseball that ignores ongoing events described on the front page of the very paper in which his column appeared.  It is a major disappointment from a journalist who once displayed independent thought and judgment.

Edsall makes some valid points.  He is correct that appointing Alcee Hastings to head Intelligence would be a serious mistake.  He is, presumably, correct that there are 17 newly elected House Dems who represent districts that W carried by 54% or more.  These minor premises, however, do not come close to supporting his major premise.

Edsall spends almost 2 paragraphs essentially stating that including funding for Midnight Basketball in the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill was a major cause of the Democrats' disastrous losses that November.  For some reason, I have this recollection that the abject failure of the WH to obtain passage of a health care bill that had become its signature issue was a slightly bigger cause.  Outrage over the Congressional Bank Overdraft Scandal and other indicia that 40 years of House control had made the Dems out of touch was also a bigger factor.

Regardless of what did or did not happen in 1994, those events are of marginal relevance today.  The Clinton WH did not push the country into a war of choice against a country that posed no threat to the US and then totally screw up the operation in almost every way possible.  The Bush WH did.  American troops were not faced w/ the impossible task of refereeing a civil war under Clinton.  They have faced that task for several months now under Bush, and they are apparently expected to do so for the indefinite future.

We've long passed the time in which events are in the saddle and riding this WH.  We're at the point in which events have ridden this WH to places that it did not know existed.  Under that set of circumstances, whom Nancy Pelosi chooses to chair Intelligence becomes of distinctly secondary concern.

The true vapidity of the piece comes at the end, where Edsall cites Hoyer and Emanuel as the exemplars of the approach the Dems should take.  Hoyer was a "stay the course" advocate in Iraq for far too long, and Emanuel tried to avoid making Iraq a major campaign theme for far too long.  It is difficult to see, accordingly, why Pelosi should rely on either man as key architects of party strategy.

There's an old saying that the 3 key factors to a successful restaurant are location, location, and location.  The 3 key issues to a successful upcoming term for the House Dems are Iraq, Iraq, and Iraq.  It is difficult to understand, accordingly, how a piece adressing the prospects of House Dems can essentially ignore Iraq.

If the House Dems help push a visibly recalcitrant WH towards a sense of sanity on Iraq, they will solidify this year's gains for years to come.  If they fail to do so, they will face a difficult electoral environment in 2008.  By avoiding this fundamental truth, Edsall misses the forest for the trees.

Originally posted to RFK Lives on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 07:02 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 07:00:58 AM PST

    •  Are you ready for some football? (0+ / 0-)

      Rumor has it that there's a college football thingy on TV about 8:00 tonight.

      "Not a single person voted for me. If you don't like what I do, it's kind of too bad."--Chief Justice John Roberts.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 10:14:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm more than ready... (0+ / 0-)

        I've attended 3 of the more memorable games in the rivalry ('73, '77, '05).  I was a student mgr when they broke out the green jerseys in '77, and it's a moment I'll never forget.  We took our kids last year, and it was an incredibly intense experience.

        I'm expecting a game similar to last year's--competitive and high scoring.  I'm hoping for a slightly different finish.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 10:33:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hastings Is Almost Certain Not to Chair... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saraswati, John Casper

    ...the intel committee.  I don't know why people

    A. Would be sanguine about an impeached former judge chairing the committee; or
    B. Think Pelosi would put Hastings on that committee when she could appoint the third ranking member of the committee, Silvestre Reyes, who is a former official with the Border Patrol and would be the only Latino appointed to chair a Congressional committee.

    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

    by Dana Houle on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 07:17:00 AM PST

  •  I'll tell you what's irrelevant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, Tailspinterry

    It's the fact that Bush carried the 17 Districts in 2004. "That was then, this is now" comes more and more quickly these days.

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 07:23:35 AM PST

    •  I Agree. The Water-Carriers Are In Deepest (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      saraswati, Tailspinterry

      denial about Bush-love.  They just don't get what learning about his obvious LIES (Iraq, Katrina, Wire-tapping, etc.) has done to anger many Americans.    Somehow they've convinced themselves that only liburals hate Bush.

  •  I thought you hit just the right chord wrt Edsall (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    After he took the buyout from the WaPo, I had hopes that he would emerge as a more obective reporter. The idea that putting our soldiers in a completely indefensible situation without the benefit of artillery or air cover, is just one of dozens of things that is and always has been wrong about the occupation of Iraq.

  •  Right on, each aspect, thank you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RFK Lives, Tailspinterry

    Why are we so po'd at the Times?

    Because they have abdicated their fourth estate oversight of our criminal minority elite for at least 5 years in just trying to sell newspapers.  I gave up my scrip a month ago, and I am a better environmental consumer for it.  Maybe a non-profit paper could do the job.

    (-7.63,-6.21) "Never doubt that a thoughtful group of committed citizens. ...etc., etc." M.Mead "I, on the other hand, am not so sanguine." ez

    by ezdidit on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 10:01:38 AM PST

    •  Their columnists are increasingly condescending (0+ / 0-)

      I'm rather too old to be lectured by paid pundits for being unpatriotic, impious, and elitist (yes, I'm looking at you, David Brooks). The elitism charge is especially ironic, coming from a newspaper whose target audience is considerably wealthier and better-educated than, say, the Akron Beacon-Journal.

      "Not a single person voted for me. If you don't like what I do, it's kind of too bad."--Chief Justice John Roberts.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 10:17:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did Edsall sleep though 1994? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RFK Lives

    Midnight basketball influenced about 0.1 percent of voters' minds in 1994. The big issue was the Brady Bill, which infuriated the NRA, which worked very hard to throw out Democrats. Democratic turnout was lower than usual that year because organized labor was upset over NAFTA. The implosion of President Clinton's health-care bill didn't help matters. And let's face it, the Democrats had gotten fat and arrogant after controlling the House for so long.

    As for 2006, Edsall either doesn't get, or wilfully refuses to get, the fact that Americans were sick and tired of Bush's arrogance, rigidity, and most of all, his cowboy diplomacy that got us into Iraq. The DLC hacks and Beltway Brainiacs that he's so fond of are part of the problem, not the solution, when it comes to the Iraq war.

    "Not a single person voted for me. If you don't like what I do, it's kind of too bad."--Chief Justice John Roberts.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 10:13:13 AM PST

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