The BBC reported yesterday that in the Indian state of Jharkhand, villagers fled their homes to escape a rampaging herd of grief-stricken elephants. "They say the animals are agitated because one of their herd disappeared. Officials say the missing animal became disoriented, and fell into a ditch and drowned over the weekend."
There was no mention in the BBC report whether or not the village jackasses were braying with delight at the sight of the distressed elephants.
Of course the Indian people are always disturbed when their elephants run amuck, because, since time immemorial they have relied on the strong, intelligent and friendly elephants to do their heavy lifting for them. The donkeys simply do not have the mental or physical capacity to substitute for the prized elephants.
Meanwhile in Washington, former congressman Foley is still missing, the Democrats are still blowing raspberries from the sidelines, while the Republicans are returning to their usual orderly habits. But the public, according to the polls, are nervous about the state of the Republicans, wondering whether they can still be relied on to do the nation's heavy lifting.
It is a fair question. But, as so often, guidance can be found in the advice of the master of deductive reasoning, Sherlock Holmes, who once explained to Dr. Watson: "It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize out of a number of facts which are incidental and which are vital."
And for the American voters today, the first vital fact is the nature and state of the opposition party that aspires to replace the existing majority. Rarely in the annals of American politics has an opposition party been less well prepared for governance than today's congressional Democratic Party. They have not used their decade in the wilderness constructively.
Instead of going through a period of self-assessment, reappraisal, re-organization and thoughtful reconsideration of their views on the great issues of our time (as the congressional Republicans did in the decade prior to their re-taking the House and Senate in 1994), the congressional Democratic Party has indulged in a decade of power envy, scandal mongering and vicious internecine fighting and name calling.
The first responsibility of an opposition party seeking governance is to be reasonably well organized and led. But no credible leaders have emerged amongst the congressional Democrats. There remains a vicious struggle between Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Indeed, it is widely believed that she put up the aging John Murtha to run against Hoyer for the second leadership spot next January.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.