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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

A one-letter election.

According to Paul Krugman, the only thing that matters in the upcoming US congressional elections is the letter after each candidate's name. If you vote for anyone except a Democrat, he argues in his latest NY Times column, you may be letting Dubya's power run unchecked for another two years.

There are two reasons why party control is everything in this election.

The first, lesser reason is the demonstrated ability of Republican Congressional leaders to keep their members in line, even those members who cultivate a reputation as moderates or mavericks. G.O.P. politicians sometimes make a show of independence, as Senator John McCain did in seeming to stand up to President Bush on torture. But in the end, they always give the White House what it wants: after getting a lot of good press for his principled stand, Mr. McCain signed on to a torture bill that in effect gave Mr. Bush a completely free hand.

And if the Republicans retain control of Congress, even if it's by just one seat in each house, Mr. Bush will retain that free hand. If they lose control of either house, the G.O.P. juggernaut will come to a shuddering halt.

Yet that's the less important reason this election is all about party control. The really important reason may be summed up in two words: subpoena power.

Even if the Democrats take both houses, they won't be able to accomplish much in the way of new legislation. They won't have the votes to stop Republican filibusters in the Senate, let alone to override presidential vetoes....

But while the Democrats won't gain the ability to pass laws, if they win they will gain the ability to carry out investigations, and the legal right to compel testimony.

The current Congress has shown no inclination to investigate the Bush administration. Last year The Boston Globe offered an illuminating comparison: when Bill Clinton was president, the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether Mr. Clinton had used the White House Christmas list to identify possible Democratic donors. But in 2004 and 2005, a House committee took only 12 hours of testimony on the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

If the Democrats take control, that will change — and voters should think very hard about whether they want that change. Those who think it's a good idea to investigate, say, allegations of cronyism and corruption in Iraq contracting should be aware that any vote cast for a Republican makes Congressional investigations less likely. Those who believe that the administration should be left alone to do its job should be aware that any vote for a Democrat makes investigations more likely....
[Emphasis mine]

If you want to read the whole column, you can go here if you're a NY Times subscriber or over here if (like this magpie) you're a freeloader.

Thanks to Tennessee Guerilla Women.

| | Posted by Magpie at 1:36 AM | Get permalink




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