Alterman�s new column excoriates the Dems for their latest Dem failure. Basically, they blew their chance, again, on a no brainer -- using the 87 billion dollar Bush bill to take large, partisan, bloody hunks out of this administration's hide. It's the special Daschle incompetence. That Gephardt, who represents the other half of this losing duo, thinks he has a chance in hell of being elected president shows the astonishing things that can happen to your ego in D.C.
It wasn't always like this. Dem pols were once a byword for hard cases. The Dems, after all, were a streetfighting party � they came out of East coast inner cities with a chip on their shoulders. Bobby Kennedy was this kind of Dem � underhanded, fierce, vengeful. And by and large, successful. The new, kinder Dems are roll-overs for the cannibal Christian wing of the Republican party.
Here's how the issue was manipulated: the question became, how much of the sum was going to be considered a loan. Wrong issue, guys. As any Dem bull from the forties or fifties could have told you, this should have been a vote about the money that has already been spent. And in particular, the billion, two billion, three billion dollars worth of looting that went on, with the smirking compliance of Rumsfeld's military. The Army Corps of Engineers estimated that looting at a billion in May. Who knows what the numbers are. We don't, because no Dem demanded them.
William Proxmire, bless his tin pan soul, would have known in an instant what to do. He would have taken Rumsfeld's words, in his press conference about looting on April 12, and he would have stuffed them down the throats of every administration official who appeared on tv over the last two weeks.
After Rumsfeld made clear, in that conference, that the looting was just a minor annoyance, maybe even a sign of high spirits and freedom, he said this:
Let me say one other thing. The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times, and you think, "My goodness, were there that many vases?" (Laughter.) "Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?"
Could a man paint more of a target on himself? But when you are facing an opposition of bumblers, it doesn't matter. Which is why we watch these things unroll in a certain stuporous horror, out here in the hinterlands, ruled by a brainless faction that is opposed by a spineless one.