Forming the Firing Squad in a Circle

As usual, liberals, both at the rank and file level and at the level of commentators and bloggers, are busy writing stories about the Democrats in Congress that work to the benefit of the GOP. The explosion of blogs now means that everyone can get in one what used to be the Washington elite media's exclusive terrain -- telling people how weak, ineffectual and incompetent the Democratic party is.
The House passed a non-binding resolution disapproving of the escalation of the war. Only 15 Republicans voted for the resolution and 2 Democrats voted against it. Despite the cratering of public support for the war, the GOP held together very well in the House. There had been some predictions of as many as 40-60 GOP defections. Only 15.
In the Senate, the same non-binding resolution was filibustered. The cloture motion got 57 votes -- a much higher percentage of GOP Senators defected from the President as in House. The story however, was that the President's Party had prevailed, because they had prevented the resolution from coming to the floor.
I bring this story up because it indicates the actual state of power relationships in the Congress, an understanding of which is a necessary precondition to the evaluation of strategy and tactics.
Put simply, the Democrats in the Senate are in a weak position. Their majority depends on Lieberman. They are well short of the 60 votes needed to get something, anything to the floor.
They have two options: one is propose a wide variety of bills, repeals of bills, and resolutions which will be filibustered and kept from the floor. Every incident of which will be portrayed as a Bush victory.
The second is to try to find some measure that gets past the 60 votes mark and present Bush with a escalating clash of institutional powers, which will result in exposing the constitutional crisis already created by Bush's executive branch power grab.
The Democrats in the Senate are objectively in a weak position. But instead of explaining how it is going to take crafty and persistent legislative strategizing to gather the power to effectively challange Bush, writers supposedly sympathetic to Democrats assail them for being weak. Apparently the only way to show strength is to take a series of positions which repeatedly lose.
End Result: Everyone in the world knows, and even most Democratic partisans say so, that the Democratic Party is too weak to govern.
Who benefits?


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