Saturday, October 21, 2006

Democrats power ahead for control of Congress

Unless some leading Democrats or the Left-wing Loonies do something incredibly stupid over the next couple of weeks, Congress will most likely be under the control of the Democrats in January, both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Not with a wide enough margin to override a presidential veto, but enough to control the legislative agenda, provided that it stays centrist enough to appeal to moderate Republicans.

Alas, this election is far less about the Democrats having a wonderful agenda and great ambitions for U.S. foreign policy, than simply the fact that the Republicans have really botched things up and people simply want change regardless of what that change might be.

In an odd paradox, Iraq really isn't the primary concern for most Americans, but since President Bush and the Republicans are trying to make Iraq into such a big issue (or hide from it), people will vent their displeasure over the "mismanagement" of the war by either voting for the Democrats or simply refraining from voting for the Republicans who are most responsible for the "civil quagmire" in Iraq.

It is still too early to claim victory and rest on their laurels, but all the Democrats really need to do now is simply "more of the same" (be calm, sensible, and watch the Replicans melt down and shoot themselves in both feet) and patiently wait for the voters to do their thing.

It will be quite amusing to see the conservatives fume when Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I expect that the Democrats and moderate Republicans will pass legislation calling for a "phased departure" from Iraq by mid 2008, if not sooner. If I were advising them, I would recommend that they vote on a "sense of Congress" procalmation to indicate their intentions to vote on a "plan" for "departure" in the March to May timeframe and then have lots of hearings and public debate on "options" during that period. This will allow them to control both the debate and the ultimate shape of the plan without being accused of offering an unrealistic and unworkable kee-jerk reaction. Also, it will give "moderates" in Iraq time (a last chance) to evolve their own plans and consensus.

I think much of the legislative agenda over the next two years will be Centrist-Liberal in nature. If for no other reason than to come close to getting the two-thirds majority needed to override any presidential veto.

-- Jack Krupansky


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