Thursday, January 04, 2007

Don't screw it up

Democrats re-take control of Congress today...

Democrats taking reins as new session opens on hill
Dems eager to put stamp on new Congress
Pelosi becomes first woman House speaker

Congratulations. Now get to work.

How? Ending free travel paid by lobbyists. Reduced opacity for pet projects on discretionary spending (earmarks). Raise the minimum wage. Scrutinize the war in Iraq. Elevate the level of discourse ("I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship"). Right. Didn't she say... "The emperor has no clothes" and "I believe that the president's leadership in the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience in making the decisions that would have been necessary to truly accomplish the mission without the deaths to our troops and the cost to our taxpayers." Partnership... right.

Will they formulate a real energy plan?
Will they reform Medicare and Medicaid?
Will they ensure the solvency of Social Security?
Will they screw it up?
Will they make tough choices?
Will they become complacent and fall back into their old ways?

The Democrats confront a changing America, and a different political landscape. Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison, a muslim was sworn in with a Koran. Carl Levin suggests he may support a temporary troop surge in Iraq. Riding in the backseat yelling directions is a lot easier than being behind the wheel.

Democrats are also faced with a desperate press corps, which continues to abdicate power to the blogosphere. Americans have come to rely more on blogs for critical news that the mainstream media has botched, such as the Jamil Hussein/AP case, or credible reporting from outside the Green Zone in Iraq. Blogs have pointed out editorial partisanship on the part of the major news outlets, at least reported on stories like the Sandy Berger document destruction and even published breaking news exclusives.

It will be an interesting term for this new Congress.

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