Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Unanswered Questions  Eric Alterman has a great post today...here's a snippet:

Will Bush’s deep unpopularity—and media hostility—turn Roveworld into an armed camp? In other words, will they go for a “keep the base happy under all circumstances because that’s all we have” strategy? That means finding a replacement for Rehnquist who is more Bork-like than Roberts-like and risking a filibuster; inviting one, actually. (The Roberts-as-Chief-Justice gambit is genius, I’m afraid, and the timing as infuriating as it is impressive. The Note will no doubt have an orgasm…)

Will they, finally, do what Tim Russert and Joe Klein promised us they would do five years ago which is play to the middle to re-assure the Washington Establishment? (Not bloody likely…)

Will Bush’s new found image as a bumbling incompetent ideologue hurt the legislation that the Republicans want to pass anyway, like doing away with the estate tax? (Again, NBL…)

Will the Democrats find their voice as an opposition party or will they continue to fear their own shadows, based on the fact that they are guilty in smaller ways, of virtually everything upon which the Republicans are vulnerable? (Um, need I say it?)

In the unlikely event they do, who will be its voice? My nominee: Russ Feingold

Now that people have been reminded of why we need competent government, have we got a new paradigm in which extremist Republicans are discredited; cultural issues cease to crowd out the “reality” agenda? And as a subset of this question, will the media demonstrate anything like the energy and anger they they’ve shown on this issue to the rest of the Bush agenda? I think those two go hand-in-hand, but the order in which they take place need not be a given. (It’s not, after all, as if we need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.)

Does all this augur well for the return of divided government in 2006? (I think the structural disadvantages the Democrats face in terms of state population and DeLay-style redistricting, make this one extremely unlikely, unless they do the new paradigm thing.)

What does this do to the Democratic race for 2008? I’d say it strengthens the appeal of good-government governors, like Mark Warner and Bill Richardson—unless Hillary pulls one out of her hat and makes a brilliant speech that pundits credit with helping to fill the national void and pull the country together. John Edwards could also benefit if he turns his “Two Americas” into the basis of a national conversation of why this country—the world’s wealthiest—sucks so much for poor people. Personally, I would like to see Al Gore jump in here with a combination “I told you so about this guy and here is an agenda for the future” but he really does seem to care more about that nutty television station of his and so I won’t hold any proverbial breath…. Which leads me to Russ Feingold, for now.

(A contest perhaps:) Predict the next disaster. Predict the Bush excuse.

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