As a follow-up to a story last month, three GOP political operatives are found guilty of violating communications law for clogging NH phone banks in 2002. (Among them is James Tobin, the guy who called the White House 22 times during the misdeed, and who will now serve 10 months for his role in the scheme.) “[T]he case has drawn complaints even from Republicans. By covering Tobin’s legal fees, ‘the GOP appears to sanction and institutionalize corruption within the party,’ Craig Shirley, of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, recently wrote in a commentary.”
“You have somebody who’s committing a felony, and he’s calling [the White House] during the planning, the execution and when it’s falling apart.” The Dubya administration gets in even more legal trouble after it’s discovered that, while an illegal plan to block Democratic phone banks in New Hampshire during the 2002 gubernatorial race was being carried out, its instigator, Dubya campaign op James Tobin, called the White House political affairs office 22 times in 2 days. (Looka has more.) Of course, clogging phone banks isn’t the first political dirty trick New Hampshire has ever seen — let us take a moment to reflect on the Gore campaign’s disgusting anti-Bradley traffic jam in 2000 — but that doesn’t make Tobin’s — and possibly the White House’s — actions any less reprehensible…or criminal.
“If you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture.” Bill Moyers winces at the events of a week ago.
In South Dakota, one of the few victories for Dems last Tuesday, Native Americans made the difference. Reading this reminded me of a story I heard the other day. A friend of a friend who hosted our election night viewing had had some dealings with Crossfire host Robert Novak in his prior job. (I had met Novak a few times back in the Carville days, but he always just scowled at me like I was the help.) When this fellow mentioned Native Americans, Novak barked, “I’m a Native American. They’re Indians.” And you wonder why the Lakota voted overwhelmingly Democratic.
Basking in their return to power, the GOP contemplates what evil things to do to James Jeffords of Vermont, instrument of their fall from grace eighteen months ago.
As the Dems lick their wounds and begin contemplating their post-Gephardt future, the GOP prepares to implement Dubya’s wish list. A Contract on America? It looks like we’ll find out as soon as next week, in the “lame duck” session of the 107th Congress.
Suddenly, items that had been bottled up in the Democratic Senate have new life. President Bush has new hopes for action on his conservative slate of judges, his energy plan calling for drilling in Alaska’s wildlife refuge, and the policies he favors on topics such as homeland security, terrorism insurance and prescription drug coverage. With Democrats losing their ability to set the Senate schedule and launch probes of the administration, chances improve for Bush’s hopes to extend last year’s tax cuts, curtail jury awards, cut business regulations and overhaul Medicare. Welcome to the new national order.
If there’s any silver lining to this nightmare, it’s that the Dems may finally be forced to do the extensive soul-searching they should have started two years ago. What does the party stand for? What does it stand against? Where do we go from here? What does it say about the party that the the reform candidate everybody got excited about two years ago was a Republican? All these questions are now begging for answers. As many other pundits are noting this bleak morning (and before), it’s time to clean house. New leadership is needed, but where will it come from? Remember, in 1990, nobody really saw Clinton coming…let’s hope history repeats itself before Dubya irrevocably screws up the judiciary, the economy, the environment, and, of course, the fate of the world. Update: Gephardt’s done…whomever replaces him will make for an interesting start to Democratic reconstruction.
Oh, man…it’s ugly. You know it’s a bad election night when the highlight is seeing Carville wear a trash can on his head. I guess we Dems should’ve expected this the minute most of the party capitulated to Dubya’s wag-the-dog Iraq vote. If you don’t give the American people a choice, they won’t make one. Sigh…