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With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?


TPM's Greg Sargent catches Clinton family advisor Leon Panetta trying to slip the Democrats not one, but two poison pills of woefully bad advice recently:

In a front page Washington Post article today by Jonathan Weisman and Lyndsey Layton about how the Democratic Congress is faltering, the reporters quote Leon Panetta making the case that Dems had better watch out and not be too confrontational with the White House:

"The primary message coming out of the November election was that the American people are sick and tired of the fighting and the gridlock, and they want both the president and Congress to start governing the country," warned Leon E. Panetta, a chief of staff in Bill Clinton's White House. "It just seems to me the Democrats, if they fail for whatever reason to get a domestic agenda enacted … will pay a price."

Panetta, it appears, has become the go-to person for reporters eager to make the case that Dems are at risk of overreaching or failing. Indeed, it just so happens that this is the second time in just over a month that WaPo has gone to Panetta to get a quote arguing this. Funny coincidence, that.

Yeah.  Especially since, as Sargent goes on to point out, all the recent polls show clearly that the public strongly supports efforts by Dems to confront Bush both on Iraq and on corruption —  "Going too far"?  Hell, if anything, they think the Democrats haven't gone far enough.  "Advice" like this from people like Panetta, we don't need.

Folks, Leon Panetta is not a stupid guy.  He knows that the "gridlock" myth is a myth — we should have been so lucky as to have had gridlock over the last six years.  Instead, with very rare exceptions — most of them in the last few months of Democratic control of both chambers of Congress — the Republicans and their standard-bearer Bush have had their own way on pretty much every issue that matters, from taxes to Iraq to the politicization and corruption of every branch of government as incompetent Republican Party hacks such as Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff are shoehorned into positions of great responsibility.  He also knows that so long as the Democrats don't have the votes to override Bush's veto pen, there's no way to advance a working "domestic agenda".  Furthermore, he can't be totally ignorant of what poll after poll has been saying.

So what, exactly, is his major malfunction?  Whose agenda is he pushing, when he tries to undermine Nancy and Harry this way?

It does make one wonder, doesn't it?

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