Sunday Morning Sullivan

A mostly political Weblog.
Dec. 28 2006 6:11 AM

Sunday Morning Sullivan

But will he play in Plano?

(Continued from Page 34)

1. We'd like to punish President Bush. If I could get Bush out of office now with my vote I'd exercise it immediately. But we can't get rid of Bush. We can only defeat his party in Congress.

2. One effect of a Dem House takeover is the radically increased probability that Congress will pass a version of Bush's "comprehensive" immigration reform, including some sort of not-very-difficult path to full citizenship for illegal aliens now living in the U.S. ("semi-amnesty"). The Republican House majority, after all, has been the only thing standing in Bush's way. In other words, a Democratic victory would punish Bush by giving him a gift of his top domestic legislative priority.  Perverse! It would be easy to live with the perversity if Bush's plan were sound policy--but it's more Iraq-style wishful Bush thinking: a) thinking that granting amnesty won't encourage more foreign workers to try to come here illegally to position themselves for the next amnesty; b)  thinking that a Republican administration will administer a tough, effective system of sanctions against any employers who hire those illegal workers. If you believe that, you probably believed we could just train the Iraqi police force and then everything would calm down over there.

3. If the GOPs lose, it will be primarily because of Iraq--but it seems unlikely that a Democratic victory will actually have a huge effect on American policy in Iraq, at least for the next two years. (Alter agrees.) Bush will still be president, remember (see Perversity #1). He will have to deal with the mess he's gotten the nation into. And it's not as if the Democrats have a raft of solutions that are better than the ones the Baker Commission will come up with. Nor does it seem likely that the Democrats will join with Bush to take responsibility for any new strategy he chooses. But the Dem victory is likely to limit Bush's options--e.g. making it harder for him to credibly threaten a long-range American military presence. Since extricating ourselves from bad military situations (e.g. the Korean War) often requires issuing threats (even nuclear threats) and making promises of military protetion, these new limits may not be a positive development even for those who'd like to get out of Iraq quickly.

The implications of these unintended-but-not-unanticipated, consequences for Tuesday night seem clear to me: the best outcome would be if the GOPs retain the House (thwarting Bush's immigration plan) but decisively lose the Senate(punishing Bush and establishing a mechanism for the hearings and oversight Dems like Alter want). This, of course, is the least likely thing to actually happen. Perversity #4.

Update--Perversity #5: I make a big deal about how it would be better if the Dems lost the House battle, but in the only House race on my ballot, I voted Democratic (absentee). Why? My Democratic congresswoman, Jane Harman, is moderate and responsible. I like her, even if Nancy Pelosi doesn't. ... 12:38 P.M. link

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Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column ... [More tk]

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