As much as I hate to agree with my former Congressman Bob Barr he puts forth a good analysis in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning.
[In 1994,] Many in the new [GOP] House majority incorrectly concluded that their 1994 victory was a mandate for all they had campaigned on: dramatically smaller government, quickly achieved; significantly lower taxes; and a complete rollback of many policies instituted in his first two years in office by their nemesis, President Bill Clinton (whom we repeatedly underestimated).
What many congressional Republicans failed to realize until much later was that their November victory was less of a vote of confidence in them and more a vote against
. This miscalculation led to costly blunders in our first year; including trying to do too much too fast, which placed us far ahead of where the American public wanted us to be and where it felt comfortable being.... Clinton
The Democrats will do everything in their power to avoid a return to second-class citizenship. They will be more likely than were the Republicans a dozen years ago to take modest steps, and to be careful lest rhetoric overtake feasible action. The goal for Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her battle-hardened team will be to spend two years laying the groundwork for further gains in 2008, and to push an agenda that will provide a solid and likely centrist platform for their party's standard-bearer.
Some the proposals the Democrats ran on, like increasing the minimum wage and implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission are good and necessary and they did resonate with the electorate. However the vote was more about Bush’s incompetence and arrogance along with GOP corruption and over-reach. Of course we also had the issue of
What this means for the Democrats is that they need to keep focused in the beginning and meet the expectations of the voters on such things as minimum wage. We cannot fix all that is wrong with America in the first few months. We need to show the public the difference between true leadership and what they have been experiencing over the last 6 to 12 years. We have two years to initiate the process of reversing the damage the Republicans have done to our country and our position in the world. Yes, we need to address the Iraq problem as a high priority but there are myriad other things that need attention as well.
I am not saying we should hesitate to make waves or not push the agenda
I’ve seen a lot of talk about immediately trying to impeach Bush and Cheney. Nancy Pelosi is already taking grief for supposedly taking it off the table. Nancy Pelosi is smart. She knows that the people are expecting changes from the Democrats. Real government. Our government. There is no upside to trying to impeach Bush right now. The public might support impeachment some day but that is extreme politics and without a proper foundation and the rule of law it would not fly. It might make a lot of people feel good but it would be very short term. It is much better to get on with turning the country around and maybe down the road enough evidence will come to light that will convince the public of the need and justification of an impeachment and they will ask for it and support it.
While many of us might feel the need for retribution that is not why the Democrats were placed in charge, we were placed in charge to turn the country around. Never forget that in only two years the public will, once again, have to opportunity to change the game. If we can show them how grownups lead then we will increase our power and widen our opportunity to move