Sunday, October 23, 2005

Better Late Than Never?

I'm older than these "young" Democrats and am all for a change, I don't think age has anything to do with the frustration felt by Democrats.
Young Democrats Sharpen Tactics Against Old Rivals: "Many Democrats concede that, as a group, they were bullied into submission by President Bush during his first four years, when his popularity was high. They went along with his tax cuts, backed the war in Iraq and helped adopt a controversial Medicare prescription drug program. This year, however, the Democrats began pushing back more, even before the uproar over the administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina. By standing united, they helped to block Bush's plan to create private accounts in the Social Security system."
So far, that's about it.

"But the Democrats shouldn't celebrate yet. Despite the malaise currently gripping the GOP, the Democrats suffer from serious problems of their own. Not only do they face a political landscape rigged against a major turnover of power, but they've also failed to convince the American people that they have innovative leaders or compelling new ideas. Even if they could generate grass-roots enthusiasm, a close look at the nation's previous dramatic political upheavals -- especially those in 1994 and 1974 -- does not augur well for a Democratic revival in 2006.

In those years, the opposition certainly took advantage of a weakened president and a cloud of scandal and corruption: Richard Nixon's resignation and Gerald Ford's blanket pardon of him in 1974, and two decades later, President Clinton's health care imbroglio and the emerging Whitewater accusations. But White House troubles only gave the final kick in the pants to reform efforts that had been in the works for decades, efforts that were helped along by important demographic shifts.

In 1994, with Clinton's popularity sinking, Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich rallied more than 300 Republican House candidates around the Contract With America, a pledge to enact conservative policies and clear corruption from Capitol Hill. Gingrich won a memorable victory as the GOP took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

But the conservative takeover did not come out of nowhere.

Gingrich and the Republican revolutionaries enjoyed the culmination of a quarter-century of rightward drift in American politics, fueled in large part by the migration of people and votes from the industrial heartland to the more conservative Sun Belt -- greatly increasing the number of congressional seats in the South -- and the movement of white Southerners from the Democratic allegiances of their ancestors to the GOP.

Those shifts figured heavily in the 1994 vote, when a large number of long-serving, conservative Southern Democrats retired and their seats went Republican. The new generation of committed conservative GOP members included John Shadegg of Arizona, the current chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, and Sam Brownback, the conservative Kansas senator who is a possible 2008 presidential prospect.

This reshuffled political map still undergirds today's solidly Republican majorities. (In 1972, Georgia, Florida and Texas sent 49 representatives to Washington, most of them Democrats; today they total 70 overwhelmingly Republican seats. Meanwhile, Northern states such as New York and Massachusetts have suffered comparable losses in their House delegations.)"

California has 53 representatives and we don't count either. I'm torn about Prop 77. Just can't make up my mind because lately all we've been doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The band keeps playing but those booked in steerage aren't really enjoying the performance as they go down with the ship.

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