We've won an opportunity, not the war

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 at 04:55 PM

Congratulations to America and the Democrats for the House and likely Senate victories.  There is some reason to hope that this can stop the slide into a 19th century dictatorship.  But I hope that the Democrats understand they've won an opportunity, a battle if you will, not the war.

If the Democratic congress doesn't give the voters a reason to stick with them in 2008, the still functioning propaganda machine and the Republican money men will have little trouble getting the voters to turn back to the Repubs.

My biggest fear is that the current Democrats will come up short in three areas that matter to me and to millions of others:  keeping and creating jobs that pay enough to live on, reforming the way that congress and its members work, and ensuring the integrity of our voting process.

I don't see a lot of leadership support for really taking on the jobs problem.  While an effort to hike the federal minimum wage is likely to be made, that's not enough and would likely be vetoed anyway.  And I've already started hearing that the relevant Democrats have committed to not fighting to undo some of the harm from our misnamed "free trade" agreements.

On ethics, what are the real chances of passing rules or legislation that will actually change the system itself to lessen the incentive to take bribes, "gifts," and plane loads of free trips to fun and sunny places?  Do you see any real enthusiasm for a ban on lobbyist trips and gifts?  For complete disclosure of all access by lobbyists and trade groups, with public access to the information?  Without making it harder to be corrupt and easier to identify corruption, corruption is just around the corner.

On voting, I expect to hear a lot of talk, but we heard the same right after the 2000 and 2004 elections and nothing really got fixed.  So far, most of the MSM have gone out of their way to portray this election as remarkably "free" of fraud and other "significant" problems, which is likely to further lessen the incentive to tackle real change.

And as recently as the day before the election, Bush was still pushing the idea that the NSA program was about "monitoring terrorists" to "keep us safe. I hope the Democrats don't get so worried about the right wing propaganda machine that they become afraid to roll back the recent incursions on civil rights, not to mention the absurd abuse of "signing statements" and the use of torture while denying with a straight face that we torture because we had the sneakiness to redefine what the term "torture" means.

We've taken step one.  It won't take long before it becomes clear that step one was easier than step two.  And I didn't even bring up Iraq.