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The Bottom Line


With the elections fast approaching in November (31 days and counting…), and the Republican party facing a full on karmageddon in the news cycles, an assessment of where things stand is in order: 

Karen Tumulty of Time has an interesting look at the problems facing the GOP — and how what they have left is grasping for power — and how that should never, ever be enough of a reason for supporting political leadership.

— The latest Newsweek polling numbers are good for Democrats and devastating for the GOP.

The LATimes details the predatory scheme that former GOP Rep. Foley used in seducing former pages over a period of time until they reached the legal age for sexual contact.  And that he's had sex with at least one that the LATimes has identified.  That sort of long-term planning requires a lot of thought and cunning — so you tell me whether the Republican leadership, which has apparently known about Foley's predelictions for several years now, was doing enough to protect kids in the page program?  My answer:  NO.  The NYTimes reports that Fordham may testify as early as next week before the House Ethics panel.  The WaPo explores Foley as metaphor for the entire Republican party.

The WaPo reports that US casualties in Iraq have reached an all-time high.  And the Army is having to end-run Rumsfeld and pitch their case directly to the White House for a larger budget to be able to do their jobs and protect their forces adequately with desperately needed equipment.  (Robert Dallek is the latest to call for Rummy to get the boot.)

— After being placed in her job specifically by pals Grover Norquist and Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove's assistant Susan Ralston has resigned from her position "so she doesn't provide a distraction for the White House" because she got caught with her hands elbow-deep in the lobbyist goodie bin.  Which yet again raises the question for me:  what exactly was it that motivated Karl Rove to "tell all" on the stand in his FIVE grand jury appearances during the Fitzgerald investigation?  Hmmmm…you know, it's not really taking personal responsibility and being accountable if you are forced into it because someone catches you in wrongdoing, and you have to spill your guts to save your own ass.  I'm just saying…  (Some enterprising reporter ought to be digging about this issue.  And I bet Murray is…)

— Five years later, Afghanistan's violence is getting worse.  And Osama Bin Laden?  Still at large.

And there is more bad news for the GOP — much, much more.  But will this matter in terms of the election in November?  THAT is the real question that Democrats ought to be asking themselves from the grassroots upward.

I keep going back to the Tip O'Neill maxim that "all politics is local."  Time and time again, the sentiment that the national Republican party is a craven bunch of hack cronyism, rife with self-dealing and pork doling and pocket lining for corporate and religious and political supporters keeps reappearing in every scandal headline.  Tumulty is correct in saying that holding on to power seems to be the prime motivation of the GOP these days. 

But is knowing this about the party enough for individual voters in their own home districts to vote out their own representative?  The person who has gotten them an earmark for their local rail trail, or bridge to nowhere or whatever. 

Reader *xyz came up with a political statement that I think is brilliant in its simplicity and impact while hitting the canvassing trail for Ned Lamont in Connecticut.  And I wanted to highlight it this morning for everyone else:

I went door-knocking for Lamont the other day. I found that the people were most responsive to the simple message:

“Ned Lamont will stand up to George Bush. He will not be Bush’s best friend, the way that Lieberman is. Ned Lamont will help to end the war in Iraq, bringing our troops home and reinvesting all that money in Connecticut.”

This is exactly right, I think. Ultimately, there needs to be some serious accountability in Washington, D.C. — and the Republicans have shown, over and over and over again, that they cannot be trusted to do the work necessary to hold the Bush Administration — or their own membership — accountable for wrongdoing and poor decisionmaking.  The Republicans who control Congress and the White House have failed — they have failed in their foreign and domestic policy positions, they have failed to hold themselves accountable for their repeated mistakes, and they have failed to uphold their duty to protect the Constitution and to work for the good of the American public ahead of their own craven interests in money and power.  And shame on them.

While the GOP may be pushing itself over a cliff with the sheer weight of all of its party transgressions over the past few years, Democrats cannot let up in their fight all the way to the finish line in November. 

If anything, now is the time to do more work — to get out the vote, to push the door-to-door canvassing, to make the phone calls, to redouble efforts to send out postcards and contact likely voters and set up rides for friends and family and neighbors to the polls…whatever it takes.  This nation of ours desperately needs a change in leadership — and it is up to each and every one of us to ensure that the work gets done to get us there.  If you haven't signed up to help a local candidate, or put signs in your front yard, or helped out in any way, it's a great week to jump into the political fray.  We could really use your help!

Had enough? Work for a democratic win in November.  Vote for Democrats. And get folks that you know in your community to do the same.  It really is that simple.

(Great Time cover this month.  H/T to aReader for the heads up on this one.  Also, huge H/T to whomever coined the "karmageddon" in the comments earlier this week — I've searched back through, but can't find that comment, so if anyone remembers who that was, I'd love to update with a specific thank you.  UPDATE:  The "karmageddon" kudos go to reader "lurkers-r-us" — really good one.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com