S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Democrats rose to their feet and cheered during Our Current President's SOTU speech Tuesday night. It signified Dem's pleasure as OCP admitted the defeat of his Social Security initiatives.
Back in 2002, however, the opposition party reacted very differently at the 1/31/02 SOTU speech, according to the San Francisco Chronicle,
Bush's first State of the Union address was far more a war-time rallying cry from a commander-in-chief than the outline of a national agenda by a chief executive -- let alone the leader of a party in an election year.
The speech had its partisan moments: Republicans rose to their feet and roared when Bush talked about permanent tax cuts and expanded trade authority, while Democrats remained quietly in their chairs.

Applause is due Progressives who give credit: DailyKos diarist "chantedor" applauded Howard Dean's Response (title linked above) to Tuesday's State of the Union speech, posting this to a recommended diary,
For those who aren't on Howard Dean's e-mail list and haven't had a chance to read it, he sent out this e-mail in response to Bush's SOTU. His clarity and enthusiasm struck me more than any other response I've read, and it immediately made me want to support him by sending more money! (LOL, but true!) The subject line is "What we didn't hear tonight."

Because the work is so hard, Democratic leaders need continued support. The bottom line about Democratic leadership is this: They do not control the House, Senate, White House nor Supreme Court. There is often little Democrats can do except vote against legislation, use obscure parlimentary tactics, speak out, protest, etc.
Three votes short: As an example of of lacking the votes, this Slate story today is about what is reported in the current newspapers as well as the slant of the writing. It concerns passage of the federal budget. It captures the flavor of how hard it is to exercise Minority Party leadership. To quote Eric Umansky (Slate links included),
The budget bill, which passed by only two votes and got no Democratic support, was pitched by Republican leaders as a key part of a big push to rein in the deficit. It wasn't. As the Post notes, "The impact of the bill on the deficit is likely to be negligible, slicing less than one-half of 1 percent from the estimated $14.3 trillion in federal spending over the next five years." That bit of reality comes well-past-the-fold. Instead, higher up we're treated to that ever-informative practice of dueling quotes, including this fine bit of flab from a Republican rep., "American taxpayers, and anyone concerned with the nation's long-term fiscal stability, have won a great victory today." The NYT plays up the politics of the close vote, then plays dumb: "The vote helped President Bush deliver on his promise to rein in federal spending." The LAT isn't so slow. It notes that not only were the cuts themselves "mild," Congress is about to pump up the deficit a bit. As the House was voting on the budget tweaking, "the Senate was debating a $56-billion tax cut that the House had already passed." The net result of the two measures would "add $16 billion to federal deficits."
The NYT off-leads the White House refusing to give the Senate its internal legal opinions on the warrantless spying program. The Judiciary Committee is going to have hearings next week on the spying, and Democrats along with, apparently, the Republican chairman Specter want the docs. "I don't think they're coming out," said a DOJ official.
So Progressives, give our Democratic leaders a break every now and then, huh? Credit them whenever you can because their road is hard and often lonely. No wonder they could not resist figuratively "shaking their fists" at OCP Tuesday night on the floor of the House. I applaud them for it.
My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is about the demise of the telegram.

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