There are a lot of low-information Creative Class Opolgists out there offering rationalizations why the Republicans drank the Democrats’ milkshakes last Tuesday. Here at TC and at blogs like Corrente, Alegre’s Corner, Ian Welsh and Anglachel’s Journal (among many others) there are numerous posts explaining why the Opologists are full of shit.
This isn’t one of those posts. Nor is this a post about how in 2008 the Democratic leadership betrayed their base (with the help of the Creative Class) in order to put an DINOcratic empty suit in the White House.
Rather than focus on what the Democrats did wrong, I want to look at what they could have done instead.
Let’s join Sherman and Mr. Peabody in the Wayback machine and travel back to November 8, 2006.
An electoral tidal wave had just swept through Congress, returning both the House and the Senate to the Democrats. Harry Reid was expected to become the Senate Majority Leader and Nancy Pelosi was going to become the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. George W. Bush still sits in the Oval Office, however, and will stay there for two more years.
If you were advising Harry and Nancy, what would you tell them?
The first thing I would tell them is to understand why they won. They didn’t win because of the stategeries of Howard Dean or Rahm Emanuel, nor was it because of the Netroots. The Democrats won in 2006 mainly because the voters were fed up with George Bush and the Republicans.
Reasons for the Democratic party takeover include the decline of the public image of George W. Bush, the dissatisfaction of the handling of both Hurricane Katrina and the War in Iraq, Bush’s legislative defeat regarding Social Security Reform, and the culture of corruption, which were the series of scandals in 2006 involving Republican politicians.
Anybody who have ever raised a puppy knows that if you want to housebreak them then when they crap on the rug you rub their nose in it and then swat their butt while telling them “NO! Bad dog!“
If you declare “Impeachment is off the table” then you better be prepared to clean your rug a lot.
What the Democrats should have done was exercise their Congressional oversight power:
Congressional oversight refers to oversight by the United States Congress of the Executive Branch, including the numerous U.S. federal agencies. Congressional oversight refers to the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation. Congress exercises this power largely through its congressional committee system. However, oversight, which dates to the earliest days of the Republic, also occurs in a wide variety of congressional activities and contexts. These include authorization, appropriations, investigative, and legislative hearings by standing committees; specialized investigations by select committees; and reviews and studies by congressional support agencies and staff.
Congress’s oversight authority derives from its “implied” powers in the Constitution, public laws, and House and Senate rules. It is an integral part of the American system of checks and balances.
They would use it, but not nearly enough: