Admittedly, still reeling from the nastiest Democratic campaign since sorority rush at sniper school, the country could do with a little civility. But victorious Republicans behave like Warner Bros. gophers Mac ‘n’ Tosh: “Awfully sorry, old boy.” “No, not at all – after you.” There’s something to be said for coming out swinging. We won! The nation is lousy with red states! It’s wabbit season!
The country has witnessed a relentless Republican juggernaut for the past quarter-century. But Republicans can’t shake the notion that they are a minority insurgency fighting for any scrap liberals will give them.
Despite the fact that Bob Shrum was running John Kerry’s campaign, racking up his eighth loss in a presidential campaign, Republicans won the White House. With the exception of the decadent buffoon, whose newly opened presidential library and museum becomes the first to ever feature an “adults-only” section, Republicans have controlled the White House for 25 years. Even Clinton got into office on a virtual technicality when third-party candidate Ross Perot took 20 percent of the vote and the buffoon was elected with 42 percent of the vote (or what used to be known in Democratic Party circles as a “mandate”).
It’s been a decade since Republicans swept the House of Representatives after a half-century out of control. Republicans have had a lock on the House since. Indeed, in the recent election, more Republicans were elected to the House than in any election since 1946.
Republicans have also solidified their control of the Senate. With the humiliating defeat of the Democrats’ Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, in the last election, Republicans toppled a Senate party leader for the first time since 1952. (Daschle’s ultimate undoing: too many chiefs, not enough Indians. Get it???)
And of course, Republicans have held the vast majority of state governorships for a decade – a dominance that now includes the very blue states California and New York.
But Republican politicians simply can’t grasp that they are a majority party and the Democrats are going the way of the Whigs. Republican senators still think the key to their success is making sure they are purer than Caesar’s wife so that the mainstream media can’t possibly attack them. That’s never worked before, so let’s try it again! What are they, Bob Shrum all of a sudden?
Democrats never needed a quarter-century of steady victories to act like the majority party. In 2000, when the Senate was divided 50:50, giving the Republicans a one-vote majority with the vice president’s vote, Republicans “played fair,” dividing Senate committees equally between Republicans and Democrats. But the moment Jim Jeffords became an Independent – not even a Democrat! – splitting the Senate 49-50 just a year later, the Democrats turned around and gave themselves a majority on all Senate committees.
If they were in the majority, I promise you the Democrats would never allow a moderate Democrat like Evan Bayh chair the Judiciary Committee. Even now, they won’t even let Bayh sit on the Judiciary Committee.
But Senate Republicans, with a quarter-century of nearly uninterrupted victories at their back, are afraid to change their own rules to deprive Arlen Specter of the Judiciary Committee chairmanship. CBS’ “60 Minutes” might run a hit piece on Republicans saying Republicans aren’t playing fair!
Only when it comes to the media do Republicans suddenly become Neville Chamberlain: They don’t like us, so let’s give them what they want.
Republicans seem oblivious to the fact that if anyone cared what Dan Rather had to say, Republicans would not be the majority party. Republicans should be required to say this mantra over and over to themselves: “It is a good thing to be attacked by the likes of the New York Times and ’60 Minutes,’ both of which are losing readers/viewers faster than innocent bystanders exiting the Vibe awards after another random stabbing. It is a good thing …”
Republicans are also sublimely confident that Arlen Specter has been so cauterized by the recent attacks that he will suddenly break a 30-year habit of sabotaging his own party. Republicans are pretty sure he will not go on “Meet the Press” to call any of Bush’s judicial nominees “out of the mainstream” – all while flogging his credentials as the REPUBLICAN chairman of Judiciary, chosen by the REPUBLICAN majority in the Senate.
It is as certain that Arlen Specter will double-cross Republicans as it is that Bob Shrum will lose his next presidential campaign. You can add this to a certain infamous list that already includes “death” and “taxes.”
What will Republicans do then? If Republicans are worried about not appearing “fair” to the editors of the New York Times if they deny Specter a chairmanship now, how will it look if Republicans wait for Specter to double-cross them to strip him of his chairmanship? If they’re not willing to do that, then the moment Specter becomes chairman, the only people he will have to please all work at the New York Times, CBS and other sworn enemies of the Republican Party.
Finally, individual Republican senators oppose stripping Specter of his chairmanship for fear that they too will be punished every time they fail to toe the party line – and God forbid a Republican hesitate before holding a press conference to denounce his own party.
It would be worth making Sen. Lincoln Too-Dumb-to-Know-He’s-a-Democrat Chafee chairman of some important Senate committee if that’s what it takes to calm Republican “mavericks,” as the New York Times calls Republicans who agree with the New York Times. The Judiciary Committee is different.
Liberals cannot win when Americans are allowed to vote, so they jam their insane ideas down our throats through the courts. In Bush’s second term, there is no more important committee than the one charged with overseeing his judicial nominations.
If Republicans blow this once-a-century opportunity to end the tyranny of the judiciary, they deserve to lose. And they can’t keep counting on Democrats to hire Bob Shrum.