By Brent Budowsky - 07/24/07 07:08 PM EDT
change with filibuster after filibuster.
With a president whose popularity rivals Nixon during impeachment, there is a new radical Republicanism in the Congress, supporting the very executive abuses that overwhelming majorities of Americans want ended.
With nearly 70 percent of the voters believing the Iraq war is a deadly mistake, nearly 100 percent of Republicans in Congress vote for it nearly 100 percent of the time. They offer fig-leaf proposals that change nothing, and filibuster any real change in their new brand of obstructionist and do-nothing Republicanism.
When Republicans controlled the Senate, they tried to destroy the integrity of Senate rules by ending the filibuster permanently through the “nuclear option.” When Republicans are in the Senate minority, they try to destroy the integrity of Senate rules by filibustering bill after bill.
This is the unprincipled abuse of power by Senate Republicans, in support of disastrous policies, pursued through constitutional abuse, in ways alien to American history, tradition and law.
The House Republicans created what was known as the “K Street Project,” now under criminal investigation. Almost unanimously they have backed every catastrophic blunder in the Iraq war and every abuse of power and common sense that Americans overwhelmingly oppose. They could not even protect young congressional pages from abuse, and even now, when America hungers for change, they brag about their success in blockading the very changes that 70 percent of America yearns for.
In the latest contempt of Congress, also backed by the radical Republicans, the president orders the Justice Department to not uphold the law of executive privilege, even when criminal conduct is alleged. The president claims the power to define the law without legislative or judicial review, and to make himself a unitary ruler regardless of courts, Congress or precedent.
This is radical by any traditional standard.
In this world of unitary power, the Bill of Rights can be violated in secret, federal statutes can be violated with nonbinding statements almost 800 times, executive orders seek to prevent the law from being faithfully executed.
When a distinguished general warns of a cover-up of Abu Ghraib crimes, when their Attorney General makes a mockery of the rule of law and destroys the upper echelon of the Justice Department in ways that help the terrorists; even when the most senior Senate Republicans are humiliated by a president who treats their advice on Iraq with contempt, they still support or submit.
Independents move to Democrats in tidal wave numbers. Hispanics surge for change. Seniors and young people alike are moving to Democrats. Republicans could be wiped out in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest while Democrats bid for majorities in Southwestern states and surge on both coasts. Almost half of Senate Republicans run for reelection while the number of contested House Republican seats rises every week.
Democrats are surging in volunteers and campaign donations, with huge and expanding leads in every aspect of fundraising, from grassroots money to the “smart money” of business and special interests.
The stage is set; the die is cast; there is panic in the air from Republicans, and landslide in the air for Democrats. The bell now tolls for the Republican Party, and if they campaign as the do-nothing party of obstructionism to preserve a repellant status quo, the tidal wave is coming and a realigning election will change American politics for a generation.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, and to Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He is contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service and can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog, pundits.thehill.com . He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.