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May 7, 2006
Democratic Agenda: The Two-Year Republican Hate-In

The Democrats have announced their agenda if they succeed in taking back the House in November, and as predicted, it focuses on exactly what the Democrats have done for the past six years: hating Republicans. Rather than having much of a legislative agenda, the Democrats plan to run on the promise to launch endless investigations of Republicans and the administration:

Democratic leaders, increasingly confident they will seize control of the House in November, are laying plans for a legislative blitz during their first week in power that would raise the minimum wage, roll back parts of the Republican prescription drug law, implement homeland security measures and reinstate lapsed budget deficit controls.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, "You never know where it leads to."

We know exactly where it will lead, and Pelosi does as well. She displays disingenuity when she claims that the attempt to rehash all of the old complaints that lost them three elections in a row has no ultimate purpose. However, Russ Feingold exposed the real direction of the Democrats with his call for hearings and censure (at the least) of George Bush earlier this year, a move that made Democrats very nervous then but apparently no longer.

The plan to re-open the investigation into Dick Cheney's energy-planning meetings is a perfect case in point. The executive has the right to consult with anyone they see fit in forming policy. In fact, that concept forms the entire basis of executive privilege, and for good reason. If they do not want to reveal their consultants, that is their prerogative. The courts have ruled against the Democrats on at least two occasions on this.

The Democrats, instead of attacking the policy, want to smear the administration instead to undermine it. They wanted to intimidate the White House into backing down through court action instead of the political process. When that didn't work, they stalled Congress on the energy bill for five years. Voters responded to both the Bush energy policy, the Democratic lawsuit about the task force, and the obstructionism on which the Democrats relied -- and they voted more Democrats out of office in the House and Senate.

The voters have spoken on this issue, but the Democrats refuse to listen. Now they want to use this election as yet another referendum on their obstructionism, this time through the use of endless investigations into long-dead issues like the task force. Well, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then Democrats may want to schedule a mental-health screening for their leaders.

Not everything the Democrats propose is crazy, however, and the GOP had better take notice. One proposal, an effort to reinstate spending controls through either tax increases or spending cuts, needs to be addressed by the profligate Republican majority. The GOP has a major vulnerability on spending over the past six years, and they need to put their house in order. Conservatives have long warned about the massive increases in federal spending and the effect they will have on the electorate, especially a disheartened GOP base in the midterms. Porked-up emergency spending bills such as those passed by the Senate last week provide Democrats with gilded examples of Republican irresponsibility, examples which are impossible to defend.

Had the Democrats stuck to fiscal responsibility instead of witch hunts, they may have garnered some support from disillusioned Republicans. Their confident declaration of war should rouse these disaffected voters to return to the Republican Party in November, to keep Congress from bringing this nation to a standstill in the middle of a real war against terrorists.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 7, 2006 8:27 AM

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