The Kaine mutiny.

Notes from the political sidelines.
Jan. 27 2006 2:31 PM

The Kaine Mutiny

Why responding to the State of the Union isn't the next best thing to giving it.

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It's easy to ridicule Congress for its historic tendency to do nothing for months on end and then hit the panic button when the voters catch on. Yet the trouble with the Republican Congress under DeLay was that it didn't panic enough, and certainly never when the American people did.

One-party rule and the explosive growth of the influence industry have proved to be a deadly combination. For a few members, the comfort of a safe seat may now give way to hard time in a cold, dark cell. For most, a self-perpetuating majority came with a different price: the frustration of not having much to show for their time in Washington.

Five Down, Three To Go: With exactly three years left in the Bush presidency, Republicans still have to sort out the contradictions in big-government conservatism. Even without DeLay, they're still susceptible to the siren song of K Street. But if they decide to let the American people whisper in their ear for a change, they won't regret it.

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Around this time last year, Tom DeLay was forcing Congress to try to save a brain-dead woman in Florida. This year, DeLay's implosion may force his colleagues to hear what voters have wanted all along: to pull the plug on the brain-dead politics of Washington. ... 11:28 A.M. (link)

Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at thehasbeen@gmail.com. Read his disclosure here.

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