Groping for some solace out of this week’s voter slapdown, some Republicans are saying that this defeat may be in the long-term best interests of their party. They reason that after two years of Democratic control of Congress, a chastened electorate will come sobbing back to the Republicans.
They reason that the Democrats won’t be able to control their party’s special interests, unruly ideologues and rabid anti-Bush partisans. And there may be something to that; at least some Democrats think so too. That’s perhaps why Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi so forcefully spiked the boneheaded notion of some of her followers that President Bush ought to be censured and even impeached.
Any hopes of accomplishment rest on some sort of accommodation between the White House and majority Democrats. Making nice-nice only a day after implying that the one was just short of traitor and the other the next thing to a liar recalled the line that was always truer in Washington than it was in “The Godfather”: “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”
The initial agenda outlined by Pelosi for next year was modest with no surprises.
The Democrats want a top-level “summit” to develop a new course and strategy in Iraq. This is hardly cut-and-run. They want an increase in the minimum wage, which would have passed in the current Congress if the Republicans hadn’t attached repeal of the estate tax to it.
They want federally funded stem cell research, as do many Republicans, and to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices. They want to implement the 9/11 commission recommendations and make some college costs tax deductible.
For Democrats, winning may have been the easy part. Governing could prove much harder.