I make it a point not to argue (too much) with someone who happens to be right. Let me be more specific: I make it a point not to disparage legislators who realize that, to co-opt a little Dylan, “the times they are a-changin’”. “Ron Burgundy had never heard that song, so when he fell, he fell hard.” An amicus asked my opinion the other day about why it was that Democratic legislators seem to be dropping faster than the price of pie in Poughkeepsie. I had this to say to my compadre, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” TJ, of course, was ramping up to tell King George, “Your Highness, we beseech you on this day in Philadelphia to bite me, if you please.” The importance of any government is to affect the will of the people. Vox populi, vox Dei.
The answer to the question is that Democratic legislators are getting caught with their pants down in the same way that dear old Dubs did: when things go wrong, we like to blame people. The people to blame these days (with their high-falootin’ “healthcare reform” and their namby-pamby “Republicans won’t play nice”) are the Democrats in Congress and their Maestro-North-of-the-Ellipse. The fact of the matter is that politicians in this country are facing the stark realization that the Change-meister-in-chief has changed doodly-squat.
Politics in Washington (should I point out he was a Senator?) haven’t changed. The reason that Democrats are dropping so quickly isn’t that, in the words of retiring Congressmen Bayh, “There is much too much partisanship and not enough progress”; the real reason is that the partisanship from the President’s party isn’t carrying the day. It isn’t doing what Obama wanted it to do: be an echo of the Bush year’s dominance.
Remember when most of us were teens-on-the-rise? When I was sitting in my eighth grade English class and watching smoke billow from the North Tower, there was a Texan in the White House. There were Conservatives running the show on the hill. When Dubs spoke, Congress listened; having listened, Congress acted. Obama has yet to get the same kind of fight, the same kind of dominance, out of his Congress. Here’s the punch-line: he has a larger majority. Obama’s margin is larger than Bushes (I’m comparing the 109th to the 111th, gang); the reason he isn’t getting what he wants is that what he wants isn’t what America wants. The Bush Whitehouse spun their policies far better than Obama’s has.
Democrats are dropping like flies. The reason is simple: partisan politics are wartime politics; the first rule of war is “fighting to win”. Democrats in Congress have yet to realize that winning is the important part; you bring about change by winning. The retirement spree isn’t just about sex and politics. Democrats are resigning because they’re losing. That’s the ball-game kids, thanks for playing. Democrats are dropping like flies because they’re losing; they’re losing the battle for hearts, minds, and policy initiatives. Until Democrats find their own Karl Rove, the Democratic ballgame is unwinnable.