E.J. Dionne is not a very insightful columnist, even for a liberal, but his columns often provide an unintended entertainment value. Yesterday’s effort was a classic expression of the current, woebegone state of America’s Democrats:
“President Bush’s signature on his big tax cut bill Wednesday marked a watershed in American politics. The rules of policy-making that have applied since the end of World War II are now irrelevant. A narrow Republican majority will work its partisan will, no matter what.
“Until now, Congress was a forcefully independent branch of government….With a very slim congressional majority, Bush would have been expected to seek genuine compromise–under the old rules. But Washington has become so partisan and Bush is so determined to push through a domestic program based almost entirely on tax cuts for the wealthy that a remarkably radical program is winning despite the odds against it and lukewarm public support.
“This is a shock to congressional Democrats, most of whom came to political maturity under the old arrangements that placed a heavy emphasis on comity and the search for the political center.”
Yes, that’s been the Democrats’ downfall, all right–not that they’ve discredited themselves with voters by being too liberal, but that they stay too close to the center. And, of course, they’re too polite.
At least Dionne is now willing to give some credit to the man who keeps clobbering the Democrats, President Bush: “With ruthless brilliance, the White House is wielding power through the fierce imposition of party discipline.” In a few short months, President Bush has progressed from bumbling stupidity to “ruthless brilliance.” Not bad; it took Ronald Reagan years.
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