Those inclined to give the victors and survivors of both parties the benefit of the doubt, to extend their 'honeymoon period' with the press another 24 hours, or even to adopt a 'wait and see' attitude have been in for a rude series of shocks this week in Washington, regardless of their sympathies.
Where to even begin? Ooo, let's start with those hapless schmoes, the party formerly known as 'Republicans'; less than a week after having gone down to a stunning and passive defeat under the guidance of their 'confident' Svengali Karl Rove--and less than 48 hours after having informally offered the job to rising star Michael Steele, the GOP leadership abruptly reversed itself and, under the goading of Bush and Rove (who should have been quietly sent to Gitmo), crowned Sen Mel Martinez as party chairman instead. He is expected to rebuild the party in time for 2008--while still serving as senator, an arrangement that I haven't seen in my lifetime (no, I don't remember THAT war...). Maybe someone with the drive and intellect of Newt Gingrich could perform the trick, but not Martinez, who is known in insider circles as 'Bernie' (as in 'My Weekend at...'). I guess the Taco-Belle chihuahua wasn't available.
But if you're a Republican, don't despair just yet. Rescue from oblivion is headed your way from an unlikely source: new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. As I type this, she is engaged in a vicious arm-twisting campaign to install unindicted Abscam conspirator Jack Murtha as House Majority Leader over the dead body of longtime heir-apparent, the well-liked Steny Hoyer (despite this puff-piece in the New York Observer, insisting on her canniness: http://www.observer.com/20061120/20061120_Steve_Kornacki_opinions_wiseguys.asp). But wait--that's not all! According to Ruth Markus in today's Post, who is a tireless and vocal standard-bearer for the Democratic Left, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/14/AR2006111401230.html), Pelosi plans to name Alcee Hastings, a former judge fired for bribe-taking, to head the House Intelligence Committee. "Pelosi's first test was how to handle Murtha. Whatever happens tomorrow, she flunked. Whether she'll get another failing grade on Hastings remains to be seen." So much for running against the cronyism and corruption of the Republicans. But wait, there's even more! Remember that Iraq thing (not a 'war', Pelosi tells us now, just a 'problem')? Well, whatever it is, it got the Republicans defeated and we can reasonably expect the Democrats now they're in power to press ahead for redeployment, right? Wrong. In today's New York Times, long the leading critic of Bush war policies, Michael Gordon puts on the brakes:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/15/washington/15military.html?ex=1321246800&en=ba2a637a5ee697fe&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss. Citing generals Zinni and Batiste (the latter one of the dumbest dudes ever to ever lurch in front of a TV camera), the article appears to promote the idea of sending even more troops over there instead of pulling them out! So much for you, guru George McGovern...(and was that Senator John 'Dumb and Lazy' Kerry I saw dozing off at his 'disengagement' seminar? Around town they're calling him 'The 8th Dwarf'.)
But hey, lest you think that hypocrisy and bet-hedging--not to mention outright betrayal--are the sole province of the Lefties, think again. Because the most astoundingly breathtaking betrayal of all, the true elephant in the GOP White House parlor, was that of President Bush, who signalled an abrupt change of tack regarding Iraq by firing Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense the day after the election--this only weeks after assuring nervous Rightists that Rummy would be staying in the post another two years. With the certain adoption of the Baker Commission's findings--widely expected to endorse 'phased withdrawal'--Bush will have, in an incredibly short time, stabbed in the back all of those Republican candidates who, in the face of a hostile electorate, remained loyal to his stated war aims (poor Michael Steele now, like Caesar, has two daggers stuck in his). These include many Representatives like JD Haworth of Arizona, for whom supporting Bush was the only distinguishable issue differentiating them from their Democrat opponents. They would have all actually done better to have run against Bush and the war! Slowly, over the next few weeks this realization will slowly sink in, resulting in the correct perception that Bush has utterly sacrificed a party with which he has ideologically little in common in order to continue to play at being president. What next? Will he renounce Christ? Enquiring minds want to know. After all, this war was his idea. Apparently he read in the New York Times that Saddam was working on a nuclear weapons program...they're such hawks sometimes.
If this were Europe, who would need impeachment? The Republicans could simply oust him as party leader as the Tories did in the end to Maggie Thatcher--and as Labour has threatened to do all summer to Tony "We Need Hezbollah Partners" Blair. However, things don't work that way here. Bush has two more years to go of party-wrecking; perhaps Pelosi can take advantage of it from her wheelchair--since she appears intent on stooting off both her feet before December 1st. And, of course, there is the cold, stiff hand of Jack Abramoff reaching out from prison--like in the movie 'Carrie'--to finger at least 5 prominent Democratic politicians, according the latest local gossip. So for the first time in many years, I will actually be looking forward to this season of political Christmas parties...
And you dear things all actually bothered to vote...sweet but so dumb ;) As usual, it was Washington that actually won...life here not only goes on, it actually gets better and better!
UPDATE: Apparently Pelosi has been vigorously working the phones all day, begging, pleading, and threatening for Murtha. Meanwhile disaffected House Democrats report that Hoyer is well ahead in the secret poll. And over at the Washington imPOSTor, oops, I mean Post, Len Downie has sent out a memo promising further cuts, shorter stories, fewer features, and attrition in the 'news hole'..er, newsroom, sorry (http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003382121 ). Jargon just isn't my thing today. But I promise to try to catch up--if I can actually find a copy of the paper to read in the coming months. Remember, when it comes to that giant sucking sound (no, not Ross Perot's move of his corporate HQ to Mexico) of the once-proud WaPo sinking like the Titanic, you read it here first...