Wanted: A Loyal Opposition

There’s a great deal of talk these days about business scandals and the impact they are having — and will have — on the Republicans in general, and the Bush administration in particular.
Previously respected companies are dropping like flies; those that aren’t are ‘reassessing earnings’. The stock market is doing its best drunken sailor impression; weaving around quite a bit but overall, tending to fall down a lot. And both the President and the Vice-President have direct ties to potentially shady business shennanigans of exactly the type currently driving the scandals.
Tailor made situation for Democrats to rally the peepul and get ’em to throw the bastards out, right?
Wrong.
There is one story, and one story only right now that will engage the public, and that is the war. And no, I don’t think I’m taking a myopic view of things just because the war tends to be what I focus my own attention on all the time, thank you very much for asking.
A previous blogger made this exact same point in pithy fashion, so I won’t spend too much time on this. (And if you are that blogger, or know who it was, please send me a link and I will insert it here: I just can’t bloody remember). But here’s what’s going to happen over the next six months. Either:
a) A new significant terrorist attack will occur
b) We will begin our attack on Iraq
c) A new development in the war we hadn’t thought of (Saudi civil war, anyone?) demands our attention
or
d) Some combination of the above will happen
It will only take one of those things to make the state of the economy — and the stock market — look pretty damned irrelevant.
It is not the economy, stupid. Trust me on this.
So what should the Democrats be doing? The phrase ‘loyal opposition’ comes to my mind.
The Democrats should be addressing the core issue that is facing the country at this time: that is, duh, how are we going to win this war and ensure that we never again lose several city blocks of real estate and several thousand citizens.
The irony, of course, is that the Bush administration’s war effort seems to be about the only thing they aren’t willing to focus on these days.
And that’s a damned shame, because it needs focusing.
We desperately need voices in Washington — not just in the Blogosphere — asking the tough questions of the administration. Not to beat them down; not to score political points, but to make sure that we damned well get this right.
So Joseph, yes, I’m talking to you. You are a man of faith and deep moral conviction (says so right here in your press packet) — why don’t I hear you asking the President why he continues to coddle the Saudis — you know, the folks who have that little thing about oppressing any religion that doesn’t happen to be their particular stone-age-drooling-ranting-mad version of the Muslim faith. (Saudi Arabia: The Model-T Ford of societies: you can have any religion you want, as long as its Islam).
And Tom — could we have a little constructive debate on this whole Homeland Security department thing? And no, if you bring up civil service protections one more goddamned time I’m going to come over there and whack you upside the head, that is not what I meant.
Get it together, boys.
First word: Loyal. In other words, wake up and smell the war, and shut the hell up about your usual pet peeves. The unions and the rest of your traditional circus act will just have to suck it up and deal for a while.
Second word: Opposition. Challenge the administration. Don’t just lie there on the important stuff; show this country that you could do a better job prosecuting this war, protecting our citizens, than the Bush team.
And maybe, just maybe, if you show us you’re serious defending this nation, you might even win some votes.
Update: Blogger Tim Wilson emailed to bring his previous post “Bring Back The Loyal Opposition” to my attention, and asks if it was the one I alluded to above.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t; there’s a chance I might have read Tim’s piece previously but I don’t think I did. But check his thoughts out anyway — and I’m still looking for my mystery blogger…

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