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The National Republican Congressional Committee is technically insolvent, with millions more in debt than it has in the bank. The GOP can’t raise money–Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each brought in roughly twice as much cash in the third quarter as the top GOP competitors–and can’t recruit candidates. The party’s base is demoralized and threatening to walk if Giuliani wins the nomination. Pete Domenici is just the latest Republican to announce he won’t seek re-election, Larry Craig is back in Congress, and the stench from the Mark Foley scandal remains strong. It would not be surprising if at least one or two once prominent Republicans–Curt Weldon, Conrad Burns, Tom DeLay–were indicted between now and next Fall.
Yet David Broder, the oracle of the Washington Post, has scanned the horizon and concluded, on the basis of insights gleaned from a conversation he had with Republican Congressman Tom Cole, that the 2008 electoral scenario looks promising for Republican congressional candidates. “Cole argues that the House Democratic leadership has made a strategic error by wielding its narrow majority to craft partisan bills that invite a Bush veto,” Broder wrote on Sunday. “Polarization is exactly what the voters hate, Cole said; they are looking for cooperation and agreement.”
Cole sure knows how to sweet talk Broder, who for decades has been pleading for “civility” and against “polarization” (which means that the two parties disagree about policy matters). The words “bipartisan consensus” put most people to sleep. In Broder, they prompt the same reaction that a New Orleans street hooker in high heels and a short skirt gets from Senator David Vitter.
Broder’s latest column has prompted some grumbling in the blogosphere about his being a stenographer for the GOP. But he’s not just a Republican stenographer–he’s perfectly capable of speaking to Rahm Emmanuel next week and concluding that the Democrats will pick up fifty seats in 2008.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”