Monday, December 16, 2002

Lagniappe - I have not commented on the Trent Lott situation because I think conservatives, to their credit, have been providing enough thoughtful criticism for all of us. Andrew Sullivan and the folks at The National Review are clear and unwavering in their denunciation of Trent Lott and what his comments represented. How stunning a reversal of fortunes for the Republican Party in only a mere month since the party's spectacular performance in the latest elections. From adding a few seats in the House, and from retaking the Senate, (an unprecedented achievement given the historical record of midterm elections for the party holding the Presidency), the GOP has witnessed the following: (1) the sacking of the Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, and the Chief Economic Advisor to the President, Larry Lindsey, in order to address the poor performance of this administration on the economy; (2) the Louisiana run-off victories of Democrats Mary Landrieu and Rodney Alexander in the face of full-frontal assault by the national GOP; (3) the blunder of Trent Lott, which has divided the GOP Senate and thrown the GOP Senate leadership into full-blown crisis; (4) Henry Kissinger's resignation in the face of widespread criticism as Bush's designee to head up the bi-partisan panel charged with investigating the failure of National Security agencies in dealing with the 9/11 tragedy, etc. ...

As I wrote in an earlier posting, single-party monopoly of government does not a governance cake-walk make. In fact, if anything, single-party dominance of the three branches of government makes governing harder by raising expectations in the light of essentially non-existent opposition/gridlock. It appears now that the GOP is imploding under the weight of its victory and the burdens of governance that came along with it.

Democrats are watching and waiting ... and if the Democratic Party can begin to stake out a coherent position of opposition to the GOP on issues of substance to the American public, it will stand an excellent chance in the next national election cycle in two years. What was perhaps the finest performance of the GOP in this Century, could also be followed by its most tragic performance as well. And the legacy of George W. Bush could go tragically (and ironically) down with it. If such comes to pass, the pundits will be comparing George I and George II along more parallel lines than was expected only a short month ago.

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