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  xTuesday, October 01, 2002

Nick Confessore gets it


Nick Confessore wonders in this Washington Monthly article why the Democrats aren't talking about the Big Picture--and he doesn't mean Iraq or Social Security:
After all, what's at stake isn't just the careers of two able politicians, but the entire balance of power in Washington. The GOP already controls the White House, the Supreme Court, and the House of Representatives. The Democrats control the Senate, but by only one vote. Polls of the handful of competitive Senate races indicate that control of the chamber is a toss-up. And while Democrats are optimistic about retaking the House, Republicans are increasingly sure that their larger war chests and a late-campaign public focus on national security threats will keep them in power. So if Johnson loses, and the Democrats don't win elsewhere, then, for the first time since 1953, the GOP would control both Congress and the White House for at least two years. Throw in the Supreme Court, and Republicans will have won control of the entire federal government for the first time since 1929. With that kind of power, it would take only a few years for the Republican Party to fundamentally reshape American government in ways that can't be undone no matter which party wins in 2004--from more tax cuts that would bankrupt Washington for decades, to a continued unilateralist foreign policy that would wreak further havoc on international institutions, to judicial precedents that would permanently cripple the ability of the federal government to grapple with social and economic problems. By any reasonable measure, the most pivotal issue facing voters in this congressional election is control of Congress itself.

And in case it isn't obvious, Confessore details why one-party rule is not only not a good thing
Americans had a chance to test-drive this particular scenario. During the first four months of Bush's presidency, when the GOP controlled both the House and the Senate, Republican rule was ruthlessly partisan and deeply radical.

but unpopular with the majority of the American people:
Most Americans had judged their taste of one-party rule to be sour. By summer 2001, Bush's approval rating had dropped to the mid-50s--a low that had been reached by only Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at similar points in their terms. The Democrats had overtaken Bush on the question of who should set the policy agenda in Washington. Across the board, voters wanted more compromise from the White House, not less. And most tellingly, less than half of voters, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll taken in June 2001, wanted the country to continue in the direction Bush was taking it.


(via Talking Points Memo)