Biden: Get me alone in a room with him
From the NY Times
Mr. Biden also called on Mr. Bush to sit down with members of Congress to find a consensus on how to proceed.
“I hope there is enough Republican as well as Democratic support,” he said, “for a bipartisan effort to press the president very hard to sit with us, anywhere from the White House to Camp David — without our staffs and cellphones — to actually hammer out what I think a number of us on both sides of the aisle believe are necessary elements of an Iraq policy.”
I love that, especially the idea of a bipartisan
campaign to pressure the president. Now Biden has nerve. And when you think about it, it is kind of a dream scenario, that pantywaist Bush trying to fend for himself one-on-one with Biden, let alone Bush against a room of Biden, Reid, etc.
The Democrats' approach seems to be to crowd the president without coming off as looking for a slapfight. (No one wants to look like a troublemaker, since the public right now is deciding which party can be trusted to keep the country stable.)
So Reid says they'll press oversight -- especially of Iraq and profiteering, his aide says -- but adds they'll use subpoenas "rarely." Pelosi has taken the big clubs, the constitutional-crisis clubs, off the table: no impeachment, no cut off of funds to the military operations in Iraq. Biden just wants the president to sit down and talk with them, no handlers to get in the way.
Meanwhile, Henry Waxman is running Government Reform and Oversight and he says Iraq profiteering is what he wants to look at. So the Democrats aren't planning a quiet time. They're just letting the White House know we can do this nice or we can do this rough.
The White House still hasn't got the message -- witness the sneak attempt to keep Bolton at the UN. But its thoughts are tending in the right direction -- witness Rumsfeld's exit an hour after Pelosi called for change in the Pentagon's top civilians.
Bush's team is acting like someone who's beaten but still hostile, trying to sneak in little jabs and kicks, like Gorbachev during the Gulf run-up. What's beaten them? Well, they found out their propaganda machine doesn't turn opinion the way it used to. (The talking heads went crazy with the Kerry flap, and what difference did it make?) But it's worse. Opinion appears to have settled in around the idea that Republicans are the problem, that maybe they're the biggest problem facing the country. Polls show that voters across regions, age groups, races, and religions all decided they could not vote for Republicans this year. It wasn't a question of one coalition element swinging out of place; it was more like a mass shunning.
Bush might be willing to tough it out. What does he care about McCain and '08? Fuck the public, he still has his dog. He's commander-in-chief and he can keep on doing what he thinks best for the country's future.
But he might get impeached. I suspect he believes there's a realistic possibility along that line. The Democrats wouldn't find it easy, but theyw ould find it doable. The dirt is there, enough to make public support for impeachment a possibility. The Republicans know how low they set the bar back in '98.
Now the Democrats want to dig up the dirt and say they expect the Republicans to cooperate. Bush's aides have said the White House will bunker-in and fight every step of the way. Of course, Bush said he wouldn't dump Rumsfeld. But dumping Rumsfeld would help him avoid impeachment; handing over dirt wouldn't.
So we'll see what happens.
And I was worried
Jesus Christ, I'm such a nell.
28 seats now, not bad
According to the DCCC site
. Montana and Va listed by CNN as too close to call.
Forget the bloggers' preidcitions but think 28 was toward the high side. Most were looking toward a majority with just a few seats.
Now Atrios et al are talking of a late wave that brought in unexpected liberal victories. They say Emanuel wasted time and money cultivating conservative candidates who then didn't pan out. Now apptly he's talking about how the new House leadership has to go slow so as not to endanger the conservatives whom he did manage to get into office. He talks about bipartisanship. At the same time, the items officially considered to have bipartisan appeal add up to Pelosi's 100 Days plan. Don't ask me.
Jane Hamsher is fierce about bipartisanship:
I don't know about you guys, but I think the Republican party needs to prove that it has some good faith before we start caving in to their demands.
But yeah. I'd put in "taking their suggestions seriously" instead of "caving in to their demands." But whichever. All clear-thinking people should see that dealing with the Bush administration is at best a risky approach if you don't want to get abused and ripped off. Ideally, when Pelosi is asked about working with Bush, she should be able to say "Trust but verify." But conventional opinion recognized that dealing with the Soviet Union was a dicey proposition in which participants had to be wide awake. Whereas dealing across the aisle is considered self-evidently good and politicians are expercted simply to make it happen, not make it work.
Election Night as of 1:18 am
Back from the student bar at the Shatner Building, McGill's big cement building full of student rec rooms and newspaper offices. Asked at the McG Dailly around 1 today and was told the bar, Gert's and just down the hall, would probably show returns on its tv. Lovely, wiry young woman in charge at Gert's confirmed this (nose a little like Olive Oyl's, sitting on a lovely little high-cheekboned face).
At 10 pm I went over, ordered 3 Boreal Cuivrees (9% alc) and wedged myself in the second row back from the big screen, a Sony. Maybe 6 other TVs, nornal-sized and stationed up just under the ceiling, were ranged in our zone and over at the other end of the bar's length (the place was like five or six basement rec rooms welded together). The students didn't have a lot of lookers -- a weedy, chubby bunch, with an immensely fat boy whom I expected to be a middle-aged man until I saw his face (young and smooth). Unrelated point: He was black, which made me think of Oliver Willis, followed by Ann Althouse-style thoughts about being really fat but also being black and knowing you could pal with the white kids in the campus Democrats group.
I stayed more or less 10:15 to 12:15. Left with the Dems having a 1-seat House majority, which they gained about 11;45, and with 4 battleground Senate seats still up in the air. Harry Redi spoke (I keep thinking he's bald) and Nancy Pelosi. The kids were hostile to her, or at least a few kids who spoke up. "She's awful
," someone said early on, and a moment later a boy near me made a sidelong, observer's sort of comment to his friend about what bad speakers politicians were. She seemed all right to me.
4 seats in play, GOP needs 2, Dems need 3. And they are: Missouri (GOP up 4 pts), Va (Dems up 1), Tenn (GOP up 5), Mont (Dems up 4). The Va total has by far the most votes in, others are in the 60-range in that regard. Everyone predicts a recount in Va.
Dems take Foley's seat by just 1 pt! Wondrr why the Repub conceded so early.
Arnold wasn't declared when I left, which surprised me. Heartened by RI (Chafee loses) and Md (Cardin wins), though Ken Mehlman came on w/ news of the Wash Post rescinding its call of Md for the Dems. Oh shit.
A squishy night. The tide is against the GOP, but I wonder if we're going to break thru. Seems like we just don't get to clean up, even when the other side is falling apart. Either the Dems have a fatal weakness or the GOP is kludging the system with fraud, voter intimidation, etc. Guess we'll be hearing that debate, esplly w/ the Va recount. Of course both could be true.
And now good night.
UPDATE, 1:52 am. Dem Cong Campaign site now claims majority of 23 "and counting." But Reynold got back in. Fuck! Looks like Schmitt did too.
No link to the Dem Senate site. Fucking tribalism . . .
The Dem Senate site. "Democrats are winning across the country!" All right, but no mention of a majority. The results take a while to load and . . . CBS has called Mo. for the Dems, who also have a few pts' lead in Mont (58% reporting). So, holy fuck, it may be that control of the Senate comes down to the Va recount.
The big all-the-smart-money-was-wrong possibility: Allen doesn't contest.
More likely, and shittier, turn of events: Joe Liebarman jumps ship to the GOP because of concerns over the troubling partisanship of the Dems' conduct in the Va dispute. Time to provide the nation with some stability, he says.
The Sunday before the midterm electionsA Kerry state of mind.
The news stories make it sound like the Republicans keep the Senate, that it looked like the Dems might get the Senate, but then Kerry had to blow things with his stupid "education" remark. Seems plausible enough. The poor cluck just doesn't know how to function in a "Note"/Fox political envronment. He's there to make guys like Halperin feel smart. Kerry just does not get the game; it keeps tripping him up and making him look feeble. Of course, sticking around isn't feeble, it's what normally would be called determined. But I still wish he would leave.
The Repubs would like to pick on Hillary, but they know she'd fire back. She doesn't go around presenting weak spots the way Kerry does.