The cartoon below captures the political moment with Tom Toles’s usual prescience. But it’s worth pointing out: On this topic, as on so many others (global warming, anyone?) the experts have been vindicated. The Bush White House, which seems to take pride in stubbornly refusing to face facts, as a consequence ends up just looking stupid. Remember Karl Rove declaring that "we have succeeded in making these [Congressional] races choices between two local candidates."?
Um, not exactly. And maybe sending an unpopular President on a barnstorming tour around the country to publicize an unpopular might have been, uh, not a genius move?
Here’s a great example of expert’s forecasting from yesterday’s White House Briefing column by Dan Froomkin:
"MARK SHIELDS: . . . [W]hat we’re going to see repudiated on Tuesday, I believe, is the theory of Karl Rove. Karl Rove believed that, with a permanent Republican majority, which he thought was in the offing, you could govern the nation only with Republican legislation, written by Republican leaders, passed by Republican followers, and just be totally disdainful. . . .
JIM LEHRER: And signed by a Republican president.
MARK SHIELDS: ". . . Republican president — and be totally contemptuous of the minority legislators in the same institution with you. This election will be the revenge of the independent and the moderates; it really will."
The big question remains: Now that Karl Rove’s far-right rally-the-base-screw-the-liberals electoral strategy has been repudiated, will the White House work with Democrats on problem solving?
Early reports are not promising: According to Mike Allen’s insider spin, the prez plans "to plunge ahead with transformative goals like reworking the Social Security system for fiscal longevity." But obviously, despite blowing the political capital in gained from 2004 on Social Security last year, the White House couldn’t even get a bill up for debate in the Congress, despite controlling both houses. Their chances this year of action on Social Security are nil.
But a special shout-out to the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and all the others who worked so hard to Say No to Pombo. They warn:
Word on the street is that Pombo and other Republicans have some nefarious legislation lined up for the coming lame duck session of Congress. My sense is that the defeated R’s are bitter and vindictive, and will try to pass some truly awful bills while they still can.
We will be watching. But for now, let’s enjoy this: