Sunday, April 09, 2006

A bit of teeth gritting

Perhaps this is a purgative in preparation for Holy Week. But reading this article in the New York Times, all I could think at the end was: Huh?

The article is about the Republican implosion, and it details the annus horribilus of the GOP, which was replicated last week in microcosm: DeLay abruptly resigns, the immigration bill blows up, the budget bill fails, Bush is identified as "leaker-in-chief." It's even clear that Tom DeLay, as ever, is not thinking of the party, but of Tom DeLay:

Mr. DeLay, meanwhile, told The Washington Times that the new House leadership lacked vision and an agenda.

"Breaking up our leadership team has taken its toll," Mr. DeLay said.

Here was the man who, having kept conservatives in power by his relentless insistence on party discipline, was now turning around on his way out the door and telling his former followers that they were falling down on the job.

"These guys went out on so many limbs for DeLay," said the Congressional scholar Norman J. Ornstein. "And now he saws it off just as they're trying to get their act together."
Now, of course, it can't be that the GOP were the only politicians in D.C. this week, so some kind of nod has to be made to the Democrats. And what can the mighty New York Times come up with? Cynthia McKinney:

But Democrats did not emerge unscathed. Representative Cynthia McKinney, the Georgia Democrat, made comic headlines after a scuffle with Capitol Police. Ms. McKinney, who is black, apologized Thursday on the House floor — but not before appearing on talk shows to accuse the police of "racial profiling."

Ultimately, Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and 1960's civil rights leader, told Ms. McKinney, "You need to come to a nonviolence workshop."
Actually, the only reason I'm glad she's in this article is because it was the first I'd heard of Mr. Lewis's quote. He is, of course, dead on; and a reminder of what real civil rights violations are.

Ms. McKinney is what we'd call in a parliamentary system a "back bencher." She's known mainly for her inflammatory rhetoric (and not much known for that), and for losing and then regaining her seat. Other than that, she seems to be known now for having changed her hair-do, and having rendered the perfectly valid concept of racial profiling, almost completely meaningless. So the question is: how does her foolish contretemps with a Capitol Police office counter-balance the implosion of the GOP political and legislative machine?

As my favorite TV ad says: "Squirrel, please!"

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