I have to say, the more that I think about it, the more I disagree with a previous comment from Dave
, as well as John Dickerson's analysis
. I will cede a few points to Dave's argument. I'm sure Diogenes, too, would have something to say about an "honest investigation" in DC, and I agree that partisan attacks without a substantive, forward looking policy agenda aren't likely to lead to electoral success. Granted.
But, however, I think that promising investigations (but not necessarily impeachment) must
be a part of the Democratic election strategy.
First, let's dispense with notion that there's any sort of equivalence with the Clinton investigations and any potential Bush investigations. Dave is right in pointing out that nobody cared about the fact the Clinton was getting blowjobs in the Oval Office. Would people have cared a bit more if "not having sex with that woman" had occurred in this context?:
- $3/gallon gasoline prices
- An sluggish economy with an increasing rate of inequality
- 2400+ dead soldiers, and no apparent exit strategy except "victory"
- More GOP scandals than you can shake a stick at
- A major American city flooded and well over 1000 dead due to catastrophic incompetence
- The NSA collecting phone call data on tens of millions of Americans
- Osama bin Laden still at large after four and a half years
Shall we go on? I don't think we need to - if one
of these things had happened on Clinton's watch, that blowjob becomes a lot more significant. If more than one had happened, major investigations into the incident like the kind being called for now
would have occurred.
I don't agree with Dave's assertion that the American electorate doesn't care. I think that's flatly false. I think the American electorate is willing to let a lot of things slide if they believe they're getting a good deal. Again, Clinton is a case in point. Things were good, and the whole blowjob affair just seemed kind of gauche and tacky. The bill of goods the people were sold with Bush and the GOP, however, did not come as advertised. The American people are learning that they got screwed
, that Bush & Co.'s supposed Christian piety and tough talk were a facade covering a bunch of greedy, arrogant, power-hungry assholes who couldn't govern their way out of a paper bag. And as this fact becomes harder and harder to ignore - especially because attention is being drawn to it during the midterm campaigns, I believe that more and more of the American electorate are going to demand accountability.
As for Dickerson's assertion that Pelosi's call for investigations leading to impeachment is a tactical mistake, I think that's just a rote recitation of a GOP talking point (which isn't surprising coming from a Washington-based reporter). First off, the only people who are going to be put-off by Pelosi's announcement are the same 31% of the voting population
who inexplicably still
approve of the job Bush is doing. The Walla Walla dog catcher could demand investigations and the "dead-enders" (as crazy uncle Rummy would call them) would be up in arms. The only other people who might even know at this point in time that Pelosi is promising investigations (or that Pelosi is the House Minority Leader, for that matter!) are political junkies and the Democratic base.
Wait... appealing to the base... what a novel idea! Republicans have been winning by throwing red meat to their crazy wingnuts for the past three election cycles. They're going to do it again this year, we can be sure. And you know what it looks like to your "average swing voter"? The Democrats are appeasing their base by promising an investigation into the most corrupt and incompetent presidential administration in American history. The GOP is appeasing their base by promising more anti-gay bigotry and more governmental intrusions into your personal life. Given the past few years (Terri Schaivo, South Dakota, etc.), whose base looks crazier? Whose base is more appealing to the 73% of the population that thinks this country is headed in the wrong direction
Calling for investigations does not harm the Democrat's electoral strategy. It enhances it by turning out the base. In marginal districts, where the average voter is feeling the pinch of out of control gas prices, has seen the destruction of NOLA, and probably knows someone who has served - or possibly died - in Iraq, a candidate who calls for an investigation into the corruption and lies that have sent this country into the shitter is going to tap into a large resevoir of anti-Washington sentiment. And Washington is wholly owned by the GOP right now.
On the other other hand, calling investigations a waste of time while promising to be "tough on security"
is a strategy more suitable for 1988 than 2006. The extremists
we should be running away from aren't radical feminists and McGovernite pacifists any more. The extremists are anti-woman and anti-gay religious zealots and cowboy imperialists. To not
emphasize the need to investigate GOP abuses and demand accountability demonstrates a lack of leadership, and promising to "succeed" in Iraq where Bushco has failed (which, for the centrists, probably means committing more
troops to that disastrous endeavor) illustrates a fundamental disconnect with the reality on the ground. It's GOP-lite bipartisanship, the strategy that has gotten the Democrats' collective asses kicked for the past six years. Trotting that dead horse out again ain't going to win any more votes.
So hell yeah, call for investigations. Emphasize keeping an open mind. But as more information comes out, both as a result of keeping GOP failures, malfeasance, and hubris in the limelight during the midterms, and hopefully from Congressional investigations come January, you'll find a voting public demanding more and more accountability.