No Legislation and No Vision

Did you stay up last evening to watch the 24-hour Iraq debate on the Senate floor? I didn’t think so. I think the tractor pull on ESPN and reruns of "The Munsters" on TV Land had higher ratings. So much talk to no real end. A TV show with no audience. How did we come to this?

I think that the reason is simple: The victorious Democratic Party came to power in the '06 elections with lots of antipathy against President Bush, but with no real legislative agenda to implement once it actually took power. Is this due to lack of vision, an excess of politics focused on 2008 or both? In either case, the majority party favors speech and debate over concrete achievements in the 110th Congress. The American people are the losers in the process. 

First consider the investigations, literally dozens launched at the beginning of the year by all of the major committees against the Bush administration and against industries that have traditionally supported Republicans. Few have any legislative purpose at all except to harass and intimidate. Oversight is fine, but not as a substitute for the real work of legislating, but it fits the pattern: Criticize the president and Republicans but don’t offer a solution of your own.

Second, we have the continuing controversy over Alberto Gonzales and the fired U.S. attorneys. Was this episode handled well by the administration? No it was not. Could politics have played a part in dismissing some of the attorneys? Absolutely. Is this an issue of such significance that subpoenas and potential criminal sanctions should force a high-level constitutional fight over the contours of executive privilege? Absolutely not. This is more of a political struggle than a fight over any principle. Once again, numerous man hours of congressional effort totally unrelated to legislating are being chewed up in a grab for the political high ground.

And then there’s Iraq — all talk, all the time. Last night’s telethon was the second attempt to force an immediate withdrawl of American troops. More discussion is on the way this and next week. When that fails, another attempt will be made in September to end the war after Gen. Petraeus reports on his progress. The president continues to beat back these attempts because the majority party has resolutely refused to provide its own policy alternatives to achieve success, preferring instead to appease its growing left-wing insurgency. Again, it’s all about criticizing Bush.

Question to liberals: Why did you want power so badly if you had no idea what you wanted to do with it?