I promise to back down from horserace politics-related material after this.
CNN’s writeup about the Democratic victory talks about how the Democrats promise a new direction. Unfortunately, it also quotes the Democrats as promising bland slogans more than real action. Pelosi could’ve tried spinning her version of the Contract with America, but instead:
“Nowhere did the American people make it more clear that we need a new direction than in the war in Iraq,” the Californian told supporters in Washington.
“‘Stay the course’ has not made our country safer, has not honored our commitment to our troops and has not made the region more stable,” she said. “We cannot continue down this catastrophic path, and so we say to the president, ‘Mister President, we need a new direction in Iraq.'”
The US doesn’t need a new direction in Iraq. The only new direction that’s acceptable apart from withdrawal involves a crackdown on atrocities such as the Marines’ murdering an innocent civilian and making it look like an anti-terrorist operation. Since by its nature the military thrives on such actions, everyone who does not support a withdrawal effectively supports continued murder of Iraqi civilians by American troops.
Other agenda items are not any more promising. For example, on health care, the Democrats are focusing on prescription drugs benefits. Their proposals will allow the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceuticals. But ultimately, these negotiations won’t do much; drugs are sold on the private market too much, and without price caps, people will still have a serious problem affording them.
On the remaining issues I haven’t seen any promises of change at all, let alone real change. I’ll cut the Democrats some slack, since they only retook the House last night and the Senate today, but in the next few days they must talk about education, immigration, and civil liberties.
I’m not sure whether the Financial Times’ take on the situation is real or just spin, but it’s distressing.
[Link] As the scale of the Democratic party’s victory in the US mid-term elections became apparent party leaders moved swiftly to reassure Americans that they would seek to work with Republicans to pursue a moderate centrist agenda, and not lurch to the left.
Nancy Pelosi, who is set to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives – and was attacked by Republicans during the campaign for her “San Francisco values” – pledged “to work together in a bipartisan way for all Americans.”
Rahm Emanuel, who ran the Democrats’ election effort for the House, declared: “we extend a hand of co-operation to the president, our colleagues across the aisle.”
I hope this just means the Democrats pretend to be moderate and make the traditional unmeant calls for unity. But Tom Daschle made similar remarks after the Iraq War vote, which passed when the Democrats controlled the Senate.