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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Putting the Exclamation Point on Failure

Well, a congressional session rightly adjudged as one of the most futile in memory finally limped to the finish line over the weekend. And its record was so bad that even the non-judgmental Reuters news service could barely suppress a sneer of contempt:

Leaving behind a pile of unfinished work, members of the scandal-rocked U.S. Congress adjourned and went home on Saturday to ask voters to re-elect them in five weeks.With polls showing President George W. Bush’s fellow Republicans could lose control of Congress in the November 7 contests, their leaders even decided to depart a week early to give members more time to campaign.”It’s been a ghastly congressional session, particularly the last year,” said Stephen Hess, a congressional scholar the Brookings Institution. “They figure the best thing to do is get out of town. They aren’t doing anything here.”

No kidding. The eruption of yet another Republican ethics scandal, and yet another Republican ethics scandal coverup, seemed to put an appropriate exclamation point on the session, and on what the country can now demonstrably expect from single-party GOP rule in Washington. And Republicans know it. That’s why they continue to signal that their campaign to hold onto power will not focus on their accomplishments, such as they are, but on smearing Democrats. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the sleazemeister who is about to become Republican leader in the Senate, put it succintly: “A lot of Americans have forgotten what Democrats do when they are in the majority. We are going to remind them.”If this tactic works, it will require a national short-term memory lapse of historic dimensions.

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