Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 28, 2007

     How sick of it are we?  In poll after poll after poll, voters give this president and this Democratic-controlled Congress very low marks.  You can understand why.  An unpopular, many would say unnecessary war in Iraq.  Little if any progress on pressing domestic concerns like health care and education.
     It's understandable.  The Congress is Democratic, but not very.  It takes sixty votes in the Senate to break a threatened filibuster, which means to do just about anything.  The Democrats don't have sixty votes, not even close to it.  So inaction, continuing resolutions (let's just keep spending what we're spending now on this program) and huge appropriations bills no one has read become the order of the day.  And of course it's frustrating.  But the question, with the Iowa caucuses just days away, is what does it mean for the presidential race?
     Bill Clinton, as president, used a technique called "triangulation" - find a point between two opposing views, in other words, and hit a compromise which can get enough votes to pass.  It worked sometimes.  Lots of people criticized his welfare reform bill, but most would probably now concede that it's better than what it replaced.  It didn't work other times.  Health care again.
     Would Senator Clinton as president use that same technique?  We don't know.  Barack Obama says he would not:  "We have to change politics. The same old games won't do;  triangulating and trimming won't do."  That's clearly meant as a jab at Clinton.
     And that--how much change we really want--is what this election may come down to.  Obama quotes Martin Luther King on "the urgency of now."  He asks voters, David Broder writes in the Washington Post, "Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?" 
     And then he delivers his last five words:  "Let's go change the world."  Broder says it's electric;  I haven't heard it.  But I do think it may be what decides this election.  If voters are really angry, really sick of Washington, Obama.  If they're just sort of angry, Clinton.  

No comments: