Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Democrat Offensive

Today Senator Dick Durbin fired a salvo in what the Democrats hope will be an effective strategy this year, attacking the Republican “culture of corruption.”

America deserves honest leadership in Washington to replace the current Republican-dominated government, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address.

The concentrated power of the current GOP-controlled Congress and executive branch has produced "a culture of corruption that is preventing government from dealing with the real needs of our nation," Durbin said.

This line of attack was immensely successful for Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The House post office scandal, pay raises, Jim Wright’s book deal and Dan Rostenkowski’s corruption -- these scandals I remember off the top of my head, and there were more. After decades of power the Democrats were complacent, arrogant and corrupt. Now that Republicans have the power, Democrats are hoping they can repeat Newt Gingrich’s success.

The issue of corruption is not an abstract policy issue. It’s easy for people to understand. A Congressman took money from a lobbyist; he is a bad man. It’s more interesting than social security.

The Republicans will counter by arguing that the Democrats are corrupt too. Since the MSM is now the media arm of the Democrat Party, I expect the narrative to be that it is a heavily Republican scandal. A few Democrats might be sacrificed to prove the media’s objectivity.

An added attraction of this strategy to the Democrats: they can integrate a leftist attack on corporations.

"Powerful corporate special interests control the agenda and people who don't have paid lobbyists really don't have much of a voice," he said. "To these power players, the challenges facing America are not problems to solve, but opportunities to exploit."

Those challenges include the lack of affordable health insurance, dwindling pension plans and rising energy costs, Durbin said.

Durbin’s argument is, to put it in my words, that because corporate special interests are able to buy off Republicans, Americans don’t have socialism. Of course, Democrats never utter the word socialism because it would be electoral suicide. Instead, they focus on concrete issues like health insurance and rising gas prices, expecting Americans to be incapable of understanding the principles behind the pinch on their checkbooks. This is not cynicism; I doubt that Senator Durbin has a clue about the economic and political reasons behind today’s urgent problems.

So we can look forward to another year of scorched earth politics. In the end, some politicians will be ruined, perhaps deservedly, but the fundamental problem -- government intervention into the economy -- will not be any better. If anything, the Democrat strategy of tying corruption to corporations (i.e. capitalism) will increase government regulations and diminish freedom in America.

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