David Ignatius, the highly esteemed Washington Post journalist, wrote a revealing column last week based on an extensive interview with Democratic Congressional leader Rahm Emanuel. In fairness to both Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Ignatius, I am going to quote the noteworthy last two paragraphs in full and unedited:
"And here's what Emanuel doesn't want to do: fall into the political trap of chasing overambitious or potentially unpopular measures. Ask about universal health care, and he shakes his head. Four smart presidents -- Truman, Johnson, Nixon and Clinton -- tried and failed. That one can wait. Reform of Social Security and other entitlements? Too big, too woolly, too risky. If the president wants to propose big changes to entitlements, he can lead the charge.
"The secret for the Democrats, says Emanuel, is to remain the party of reform and change. The country is angry, and it will only get more so as the problems in Iraq deepen. Don't look to Emanuel's Democrats for solutions on Iraq. It's Bush's war, and as it splinters the structure of GOP power, the Democrats are waiting to pick up the pieces."
Emanuel's thoughts in the first paragraph expressing an intent for the two years of the 110th Congress to avoid dealing with the biggest domestic problems -- health care financing and Social Security -- while far short of heroic leadership, at least falls within the zone of conventional, practical, hack politics. Talk about change and reform, but carefully avoid doing anything about it.
Although, it is quite something to read that Emanuel's Democratic Party plans to let the (first?) two years of their congressional majority pass by without even trying to address the health care financing mess -- about which the Democratic Party has for so long spoken so loudly and so earnestly. Regretfully, too routinely both parties fail even to aspire to genuine leadership. So be it.
But it is that second paragraph that sits up and grabs one's attention. With America at war and our troops dying regularly in battle with greater national danger and death in prospect: "Don't look to Emanuel's Democrats for solutions on Iraq. It's Bush's war, and as it splinters the structure of GOP power, the Democrats are waiting to pick up the pieces." [!]
This is vulture politics. It is so far from respectable that it brings to mind the admired liberal twice Democratic candidate for president against Eisenhower, Governor Adlai Stevenson's, definition of patriotism:
"What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."
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.