Monday, December 31, 2007

The Oversight Year Vs. The Working Conservative Majority

TAP:

As the year draws to a close, it will be tempting for pundits -- liberal and otherwise -- to despair at the Democrats' inability to wield their new congressional leadership to affect real and swift change in the country. After all, the war in Iraq not only continues, but 2007 was its deadliest year. FISA presents a greater danger to American civil liberties today than it did when the Democrats took their gavels in January. And the radiant vision of Karl Rove being escorted down Pennsylvania Avenue to jail never came to pass.
Many disappointments for progressive Democrats this year, driven home hammer-like by the victory of 2006, and what it should have meant, but didn't.
The fact is, things have changed quite a bit. I'm friendly with a lawyer in a major executive branch agency, and she told me that the investigations going on by Congress are allowing her to do her job. Steve Novick, candidate for Senate in Oregon (who is really quite terrific), told me the same thing about friends he has in the Federal bureaucracy. Governance itself is getting better, or at least has stopped getting worse. So Blue Dogs are not Republicans.

There are other weaknesses in what I wrote [about Blue Dogs], and the commenters pointed them out. In particular, this comment by Paul Rosenberg is I think accurate, as he argues that we are facing a conservative but not right-wing Blue Dog/DLC bloc combined with an anti-progressive elite consensus in the form of a hostile media establishment, a hostile think tank and academic structure, a hostile regulatory structure, a hostile set of cultural leaders and a set of old world economic incentives for elites.
As the TAP author, argues the failure was not complete, thanks to the return of oversight, and despite the efforts of Blue Dogs to undermine the majority.

Does lend a bit of perspective, and lend fuel to fire as we head into 2008.

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