November 10, 2006

Listening for the gloat.

Howard Kurtz surveys liberal commentary on the the election, asking "whether they are being magnanimous in victory. Answer: Not."

(Am I giving Kurtz extra credit for ending his column with a quote from me? Yeah, probably. But I still like it for doing something I would have liked to do myself: Listening for the gloat.)

52 comments:

Edward said...

Ann: There's nothing harmful about a bit of over-the-top celebration after winning an historic political victory.

That’s all that’s meant by “gloating.”

The only way this celebration could turn harmful is if Democrats started talking about taking mindless retribution against Republicans.

Yet no Democratic official is talking about retribution. In fact, they’re doing exactly the opposite.

Compare Newt Gingrich’s 1994 language about a “Republican revolution” to Nancy Pelosi’s language today about wanting to be the Speaker of all the House, not just of the Democrats.

There’s a world of different between the language of these two.

The Democrats will run a much less partisan Congress than the Republicans did, and that will automatically solve a lot of the problems that the Republican Congress created.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I say let 'em gloat; they've been waiting for this one a while. It's not that hard to tune it out.

MadisonMan said...

If only more politicians were like the losing moderate Republican from Iowa, Jim Leach: I would rather lose running an uplifting race than prevail by finger-pointing. There's a politician I could get behind.

Edward said...

Even Kos, whom Kurtz quotes prominently, is not calling for retribution.

Kos is simply saying that the new Republican minority should live under the exact same rules that they crafted for the previous Democratic minority.

That’s not retribution, that’s just calling for a continuation of the status quo.

Yet Kos does not represent the Democratic Congressional leadership.

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi is wisely talking about making life for the new Republican minority fairer and more bearable than life ever was for the Democrats over the past 12 years.

There can be no doubt that Pelosi will carry out this agenda of more bipartisanship in the operation of the House.

Pelosi knows that her own historical legacy and the future security of the new Democratic majority will depend on her carrying through on this promise.

The Exalted said...

funny, i don't recall howie braying about the lack of GOP magnanimity following their wins.

where was howie when his own VA senator Allen was bragging about "smashing the whiny teeth" of liberals?

Internet Ronin said...

Edward: Hope you are right re: retribution. (Doubt it, though.)

Paul: You have a good point there.

MadisonMan: I'm with you, but it undoubtedly the reason he lost. Didn't follow that race, but I'll bet that Leach's opponent did one hell of a lot of finger-pointing and was elected as a result.

Exalted: You probably weren't paying attention. No surprise.

reader_iam said...

Leach--a moderate, but still a Republican at the wrong time--was simply on the wrong side of the trend. He used to be in the Iowa 1st Congressional District (mine, as it happens) and represented it for many years, but then after a redistricting he ended up in a different one, unfortunately.

I don't believe that his race was particularly nasty, though he did ignore some warnings that he could be vulnerable because of the mood of the electorate and that he was in an area turning bluer (Iowa City, of course was already very blue).

I think the Des Moines Register, in its gracious farewell, put it well:

Here's a guy who never took PAC money, represented his eastern-Iowa district thoughtfully and honestly and was one of the least partisan members. Yet he was a Republican in a year when voters in the 2nd District were furious at President Bush and the Republican Congress.

Leach's downfall began after the 2000 redistricting that forced him to move to Iowa City from the Quad Cities. The Democrats in his new district rewarded him in 2004 for his courageous vote against the invasion of Iraq, but that apparently wasn't enough in 2006.


Iowa, at least this part of the state, simply was ready to go "blue" blue, due to anger over Iraq and/or whatever, and so, regardless of Leach's honest service of 30 years, he was destined to be collateral damage.

(Post redistricting, we ended up with Jim Nussle, here in the 1st congressional district, which did not make me dance for joy.

But he lost his bid for governor this week, and that makes up for it.)

Simon said...

Edward said...
"There can be no doubt that Pelosi will carry out this agenda of more bipartisanship in the operation of the House."

You simply have to be joking. Even if you think that, on the balance of probabilities, Pelosi is likely to make good on her rhetoric, the idea that there "can be no doubt" is simply preposterous.

If Pelosi were genuinely interested in her place in history - rather than simply avoiding the CBC's ire - I doubt she would be talking about appointing Alcee Hastings as Chairman of the Intel. Committee.

bearbee said...

WE WON!!! WE WON!!! WE'RE TAKING BACK AMERICA!!! The Stephanie Miller Show was a full-on gloat zone this morning."

gimme an 'H', gimme 'U', gimme a 'B' 'R' 'I' 'S'........

The moralistic 'us' against 'them' and the WE'RE TAKING BACK AMERICA attitude is reason enough to repudiate both parties.

Doyle said...

Democracy: ain't it a bitch?

reader_iam said...

Simon: Interesting that you brought up Hastings. In order for Hastings to take that position, Pelosi is jumping over Jane Harman, who is the ranking democrat on that committee. Unlike Hastings, Harman wasn't impeached as a judge over charges of corruption and perjury. (Hastings took a bribe.) Yeah, I know that then Florida voters sent him to Congress, which is their right. But when he gets into the sort of position we're talking about, he's answerable to ALL of us, and I don't like the idea of a guy with his history wielding the power he will have. (It was bad enough before.)

This is political payback, pure and simple. All issues of gloating aside (which gloating I'm sure we agree we can all live with), it's terribly disturbing that Pelosi would play out this game, particularly with regard to a committee and position as important as Intel just now.

reader_iam said...

Oh, and for the record? Hastings' impeachment took place under a Democratic-controlled Senate, not a Republican one.

Doyle said...

Whatever his character flaws, anyone who opposes warrantless wiretapping is an improvement on Harman.

Edward said...

Simon: OK, maybe the phrase “There can be no doubt” was a bit excessive.

But Nancy Pelosi has now staked so much of her reputation on creating a fairer, more bipartisan set of rules for the operation of the House that she would have to be completely crazy to go back on that promise.

And one thing no one can say about Nancy Pelosi is that she’s crazy.

Kirby Olson said...

It's good to have power change once in a while. There is a hard core vicious left that cheers for a thousand Mogadishus but mostly those are people who had a bad upbringing and/or are crazy. These are people who are apparently for peace but they are so violent about it that you have to wonder. Was Abbie Hoffman really a peaceful man? Were the Weathermen really peaceful people? Is Ward Churchill really a decent person? This guy Dave who used bad words against you yesterday, for instance.

Who uses such violent language?

And the Democrats won by running more moderate centrist candidates. So in a sense it's a victory for the middle.

And if we do pull out suddenly there will be two million dead in our leaving. So the next time we intervene those whose side we are on had better get their country up and on its feet quickly. The recovery time had just better be fast as we are not going to be able to hold the country up forever.

We have a four year election cycle. If you can't get your country straight in that time, then we will leave you for dead, and the carnage will be endless.

So there's THAT message, too, and a lot of other messages in these entrails.

Pelosi didn't strike me as being too ugly in spirit. Howard Dean said he wanted Iraq to "stabilize" before we leave. There will be some gloaters, too, but it's best to remember Grant's tip of the hat to Robert E. Lee at the close of the Civil War. That sort of thing heals wounds and lets the country move on.

reader_iam said...

Simon, I'm sure you knew all of that, of course. But I wanted to put a bit of the history out there explicitly, for those reading and evaluating the situation.

There's more than one way to evaluate "partisan" than by the either the gloat factor or the language factor.

There's the DO factor, too.

The selection of Hastings over Harmon is the sort of "DO" that speaks volumes, no rhetorical skill needed.

Simon said...

Doyle,
There's a term - or, I suppose, doctrine - in law, res ipsa loquitur ("the thing speaks for itself") that is popularly subverted to the rendering "res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?" - the thing speaks for itself, but what the hell is it saying?

Well, in this election, the people have spoken. Now we have to figure out what they were saying. And just as res ipsa loquitur isn't always anywear near as clear-cut as it's presented, neither is the message in these results.

Both parties are going to need to figure out what the message was on Tuesday -- but one thing that has clearly been observed is that when democrats lose elections, they cry fraud and stomp their feet, they send in the lawyers, and eventually blame the voters for being stupid (some -- he says, looking accusingly at Sandy Levinson -- even start muttering darkly about abolishing the Constitution, because it no longer serves its obvious goal of electing Democrats. Isn't it interesting how there's a distinct lack of that in most GOP circles?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Every time I hear a liberal say "We're taking back America" I expect him to continue with "...and demanding a refund."

Doyle said...

Sandy Levinson? Never heard of him. I have heard of this fellow, though, and he's sort of in the middle of the GOP circle.

Internet Ronin said...

So, Doyle, Harman is not a good Democrat? Like Lieberman is not a good Democrat? Does that mean Casey is not a good Democrat? (Do you think he, unlike his father a dozen years ago, will be allowed to spak at the next convention?)

What was this again about the Democrats not imposing litmus tests on their members?

Of course, a purist like you would prefer Lieberman not caucus with the Democrats and hand Senate control back over to the Republicans. Uh-huh

reader_iam said...

A character flaw? He was a U.S. District Court Judge, for pete's sake.

Corruption in a judge is a character flaw? Wow. I'll have to remember that one. That's almost funny. You sure you wanna own that one?

Jeez, Doyle: You know, Pelosi could go with a third option. She could dump Harman if Pelosi doesn't like her take on things AND skip Hastings because of his--ahem, how did you put that again?--character flaw, and fight for someone else.

And you could advocate that, rather than dismiss corruption in judges as "character flaws."

Simon said...

Reader_Iam -
Yep. Just after the election, Pelosi told CNN that "We're not about wanting to get even ... What we want to do is help the American people get ahead." If by "the American people" she means "Democrats," and by "get ahead" she means "get even," I believe every word.


Edward said...
"Pelosi has now staked so much of her reputation on creating a fairer, more bipartisan set of rules for the operation of the House that she would have to be completely crazy to go back on that promise. And one thing no one can say about Nancy Pelosi is that she’s crazy."

She will go back on that promise so fast that it'll make your head spin. If the Democrats are still running the House in ten years, I guarantee you that they will be running it the way the Republicans are doing so now. And how do we know this? Because that's precisely how they ran it before the GOP took over in '94. Do you realize how singularly dishonest it is for Pelosi to characterize all these practises she rails against as being innovations undertaken by Newt Gingrich and Dennis Hastert? If so, you need to spend some time reading about the history of the House of Representatives. And if Pelosi is so willing to be so wholly disingenuous about the problem, what on earth makes you think that she will be any more ingenuous about the solution?

Look, the Democrats won. They now have the prerogative to run the House in whatever fashion they so choose, because that is the traditional right of the majority in the House. One of my heroes, Thomas Bracket Reed, once remarked that "the best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch"; historically, that has generally been how the House has operated (certainly within the last century), and I see little reason to imagine that the Democrats will not continue their habit of carving out sub silentio exceptions to their fundamental hostility to longstanding American traditions when and where it suits their purpose. Of course, Reed added that "on general principles, I think it would be better for [Republicans] to govern and Democrats to watch," 10 Cong. Rec. 2661 (1880), and I agree with him on that point too -- but at this time in history, the electorate have spoken, and they have disagreed with me, and theirs is the final say.

They haven't even taken control yet, and already the Democrats are trying to wimp out of their responsibilities. Go to Washington in January, and do what you were elected to do - govern. Get it out of your system now, because if you don't, you're going to be mighty disappointed when you lose those seats in 2008 and haven't yet accomplished anything.

Doyle said...

I think opposing illegal wiretapping of Americans is a sensible litmus test for being the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, yes. A lot of Democrats seem spineless on this issue because people like Ann have legitimized the notion that it might not be illegal, when it is. It should cost Harman her chair, absolutely.

Bob Casey is not my favorite Democrat, and I disagree with him on abortion, but he's not going to do anything about it.

And Lieberman? You probably know what I think of Lieberman. If he wants to defect, I say let him.

Doyle said...

How is "character flaw" dismissive?

As for finding a third option, I'd be all for it as long as the person actually stands up for the rule of law (which I grant corruption charges would call into question in Hastings' case).

reader_iam said...

I must be a complete idiot. Here I thought all those Republicans who got caught up in corruption scandals were, well, corrupt, and therefore unworthy of trust or power. Clearly, I was wrong.

They just had character flaws, and should be judged by their positions, not their acts, in deciding to expand their power.

Did I capture your take on all those Republicans as well, Doyle?

Didn't think so.

Simon said...

Doyle,
If you're trying to persuade me that George W. Bush holds the Constitution in something approaching outright contempt, you're not going to have to do that much persuasion. His willingness to sign McCain-Feingold -- even while admitting that he knew it was unconstitutional -- is breach of oath of office, and would have been tantamount to an impeachable offense. (I say "would have been," of course, because your liberal majority on the Supreme Court rode to Bush's rescue, getting him off the hook by declaring that it was Constitutional. See McConnell v. FEC, 540 U.S. 93) (2003). And obviously, that does your side no good whatsoever, because if you really wanted to make the test whether someone has voted for or signed legislation that was plainly unconstitutional, every Democratic member of Congress and 9/10ths of the Republican members would have to resign.

Don't worry if you've never heard of Sandy Levinson. He's an idiot, a traitor to the Constitution, and thankfully, his opinion doesn't matter.

reader_iam said...

Sorry, Doyle--we were cross-posting.

In my opinion, calling official misconduct (much less criminal behavior) a character flaw is like calling a terminal drunk a social drinker.

Now, we can disagree on that, and perhaps you mean it as a much stronger term of opprobrium.

But that was hard to tell, given that it appears you support Hastings ascension to more power.

There are always other options. It's not LAW that Harman OR Hastings have to head that committee. Pelosi needs to pick her battles. If she decides this isn't one she want to pick and goes with Hastings, even given his history, then that's her prerogative and that of the Dems who support that move.

I'm saying it will say something about her and them, that's all.

Jonathan said...

According to the folks who removed him from office, then-Judge Hastings took $150,000 from defendants in front of him to give them very light sentences and ensure that most of their assets were not taken in forfeiture. That may be the most egregious case of federal judicial corruption in the nation's history, and if true (as a Democratic Congress believed it to be) reflects not just bad character but an utter lack of trustworthiness. Hastings shouldn't be anywhere near classified information, let alone Chair of the Intelligence Committee. Speaker-to-be Pelosi's anti-corruption agenda will be subject to well-justified ridicule if she does not find a replacement for Hastings. If she wants to skip over Harman, that's her prerogative, though it would be nice if she did it would be nice if she appointed someone who takes national security seriously.

Mark T said...

Here's a few thoughts:

1. Pragmatism seems to be the main thrust of the Democratic caucus and their new Speaker since this "thumpin'" ended on Tuesday. Which is a good thing. They owe nothing to the GOP, yet are speaking in conciliatory terms. What is the problem with that?

2. I think it is bad form to criticize the Dems for what they have or haven't done since Tuesday -- hold your criticism until a suitable interval after they actually assume power. As was said on Colbert Report the other night by a fake Uncle Sam to Colbert, in order to "cheer him up" and make him come back to the show (which he had just quit because of the GOP's defeat): "Don't worry Stephen, the Democrats have only been in power for a few minutes and they already have us stuck in an unwinnable war in Iraq . . . "

3. For those who complain about the Dems not having a concrete enough plan for them, it strikes me that the so-called party of limited federal government and spending restraint should be cheering that the Democrats do not have greater ambitions for the Congress. It's one thing to do nothing when it comes to holding the executive brach accountable - that is an abdication of the Congress's constitutional role and a major reason why the GOP lost this election; it's another thing to do nothing when it comes to ambitious taxing and spending -- there a limited vision is a good thing. We might have better off if the porky wing of the GOP had exercised a little more restraint themselves. Isn't it odd that it will take Democrats to put an end to this 6 year national orgy of unrestrained federal spending and fiscal irresponsibility.

4. Do not judge a party either by those who are its most extremist supporters or those who profess to be the most moderate among them. The truth is always much more 4th dimensional.

Cheers

The Drill SGT said...

Jonathan said...
According to the folks who removed him from office, then-Judge Hastings took $150,000 from defendants in front of him to give them very light sentences and ensure that most of their assets were not taken in forfeiture.


a few more juicy factiods:

1. The Defendant's lawyer was part of the crime and was convicted separately.
2. The Lawyer refused to testify against Hastings, and Hastings was found not guilty.
3. The Lawyer was later pardoned by Clinton
4. Hastings was impeached by a Dem House, and convicted by a Dem SenateThe House in 1988 voted 413-3 to impeach Hastings and the Senate voted 69-26 to convict and remove him from office. Pelosi and her current second-in-command, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, both voted to impeach. Representative John Conyers of Michigan, who may become Judiciary Committee chairman if Democrats win the House, led the impeachment effort. Conyers, who is black, said Hastings's status as the first black federal judge in Florida didn't excuse his behavior.
5. The Senate failed to place a prohibition against holding office into his sentence.

Doyle said...

Yeah, yeah. He's kept his nose clean for the last 25 years, though, right? Live and let live, I always say!

Seven Machos said...

Foley for Congress!

Joe Baby said...

I get a bit of a chill everytime I see Nancy's ever-taut face appear on the screen, but I suspect that no amount of Botox or Coblcale (Congressional Black Caucus leverage) could cause her to put Hastings as head of Intelligence.

I haven't been that good of a boy, and Christmas is seven weeks away.

Doyle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hdhouse said...

I'm going to resist the obviously rich potential created by the election. I promise. I won't say a word that even resembles gloating.

tie my hands Lord, tie my hands.

rafinlay said...

mark t said:
"Isn't it odd that it will take Democrats to put an end to this 6 year national orgy of unrestrained federal spending and fiscal irresponsibility"

I hope you are right, but I will believe it when/if I see it. I expect to see spending and taxes go up.

verification: rohoggzx

MD said...

Let 'em gloat. There's a lot of pent up anger out there; it may do some good.

*Although, I did think it was weird that some of my lefty blog-comments acquaintances were still fuming. I was like, all, whaa? You won! Why you still angry? 'Oh, I'm from San Francisco and I am so tired of being told I am not a real American and Nancy Pelosi rules and I am still angry'. Eh, whatever. I live in Boston as a righty and here's how I do it: I pretend I am an eccentric.

Everyone thinks their part of the country is more authentic. I'm from Iowa, so naturally, I win all arguments on that one.....kidding, coasters!

***Saw that ridiculous Borat movie, which was okay-okay. One thing it did underscore is how kooky, varied, fun, interesting and wonderful this country is. I love that we have gay pride parades and pentacostals and evangelicals and cowboys and rodeos and proper Southern etiquette and Hollywoodians in costume and tough New Yorkers...and, and, everything! I love it all. Seriously. I love this place.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Yeah, well Alcee Hastings is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment.

And the only reason CBC supports him is Pelosi bumped over another black Congressman for that very same committee for Harman when she returned after her losing bid for Governor. That black guy had the seniority and, aside from that deal for Harman, would have taken the seat. The CBC is opposing a pattern of black Congressmen with the requisite qualifications being punted aside in favor of Jane Harman. Or, more generally, a non-black person without the requisite qualifications (Harman should have lost her seniority after she left Congress -- not to mention she lost in her race, why reward her for losing?). Maybe Hastings is dirty, but ... you can imagine the CBC meetings...

Daryl Herbert said...

The gloating seems like less of an excess given that they've said all along they'd be ungracious gloating jerks if they got the chance.

Simon said...

Mortimer:
"The CBC is opposing a pattern of black Congressmen with the requisite qualifications being punted aside in favor of Jane Harman[,] ... [who] should have lost her seniority after she left Congress."

If that's the tune they're singing, it's a whole different one to that which they were whistling when Cynthia McKinney returned to Congress after a voter-enforced vacation.

Revenant said...

I don't think it is surprising that there's a certain amount of gloating going on. That's only natural.

What I'm not seeing is much self-awareness as to why they won. In contrast, the Republicans seem well aware of why they lost. This suggests to me that my hypothesis that the Republicans will retake Congress in 2008 is correct.

hdhouse said...

Revenant my good and trusty friend. The Democrats know very well why they won. I think the Republican hubris makes them wonder why they lost and so consistently.

Your one plus one = onions logic, however, may be a sign of why the republicans lost on every front.

Internet Ronin said...

Mortimer - check your rule book. Members of Congress almost never lose seniority because of interrupted service. The only case I know of was Adam Clayton Powell, who was returned to office by the voters of his district after the House expelled him. After the Supreme Court ruled that the House could not refuse to seat him (and he had one election to a full term), Powell was stripped of his seniority by his party, a power within the province of the party alone.

Internet Ronin said...

FWIW, the Democratic caucus in the US Senate can refuse to recognize Lieberman's seniority as he was elected as an independent. (The Republicans can offer to recognize his seniority and invite him to caucus with them.) Many of those who changed parties in the '80's and '90's did so only after being assured by their new party that their seniority would be recognized.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Mortimer:
"The CBC is opposing a pattern of black Congressmen with the requisite qualifications being punted aside in favor of Jane Harman[,] ... [who] should have lost her seniority after she left Congress."

If that's the tune they're singing, it's a whole different one to that which they were whistling when Cynthia McKinney returned to Congress after a voter-enforced vacation.


I didn't say it was the Congressional Colorblind Caucus...I said it was the Congressional Black Caucus. Sure, they're hypocrites, but that doesn't mean they're wrong to oppose Pelosi repeatedly screwing over qualified black Congressmen.

The Exalted said...

internet ronin:

you're funny. the GOP majority basically wallowed in its power for the last 6-12 years, more or less kicking dirt openly and crassly in the minority's face for the entire period.

yet i didn't see timid howie wringing his hands then.

alert me when our democratic overlords send in the boogeymen.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with Ann. I distrust both parties. Actually, all this political talk is funny to me. Corporations are running the show.

Revenant said...

Revenant my good and trusty friend. The Democrats know very well why they won. I think the Republican hubris makes them wonder why they lost and so consistently.

First of all, I haven't the foggiest idea who you are. Good and trusty friend?

Secondly, I have not thus far seen a Democrat, aside from party outsiders like Ann, talking about the fact that the Democrats won only because the Republicans screwed up.

Finally, Republicans have been openly talking about how they screwed up.

To sum up, the only part of your post that wasn't wrong was the word "the".

Internet Ronin said...

the GOP majority basically wallowed in its power for the last 6-12 years, more or less kicking dirt openly and crassly in the minority's face for the entire period.

You appear to believe that their behavior was unusual and everything was just peachy-keen between the majority and the minority in the 200 prior years of our republic.

I'd say that is funny, very funny. But it isn't. Neither are you. By the way, I love your revelatory choice of names for yourself, a self-important windbag.

Internet Ronin said...

Well, Rev., in fairness, they may be talking about it, but the GOP Congressional powers-that-be are so afraid that someone not already part of the chosen few might get into power that they advanced the leadership election to stop any conversation; people like Hugh Hewitt are busy claiming it is all John McCain's fault; half the folks at NRO haven't read, don't know how to read, or refuse to read the exit polls and think it was the failure to go full-throttle Nativist that cost seats; the shills are confessing they never really believed what they were saying before the election, but they are telling the truth now; and California GOP insiders are already busy repeating their mantra that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a "real Republican."

I'm sorry, but I haven't seen much in the way of honest soul-searching. I'd add the phrase, "perhaps because there are too few honest souls," but time will tell about that.

Mortimer Brezny said...

half the folks at NRO haven't read, don't know how to read, or refuse to read the exit polls and think it was

Actually NRO's position is that the exit polls were off 5-8% points and have been consistently so for the last few elections, so one should simply average out all the public polls for a more accurate result and ignore exit polls due to their proven unreliability.

The Exalted said...

internet ronin,

that stings man, that stings. especially coming from an intellectually dishonest putz like yourself posting in the guise of an internet samurai.

cheers.