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November 2, 2010: The Day Our Democracy Teetered?

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to None 11/2/10

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

If our democracy someday collapses, historians surely will sift through the wreckage to find a date that might have signaled what was to come. It looks like November 2, 2010, might be the date they will be looking for.

Polls show that Americans will go to the polls today and vote overwhelmingly for Republicans, possibly restoring GOP leadership in the U.S. House--and maybe even the Senate. That's like taking the guy who ransacked your house and supporting him for sheriff.

If Republicans indeed make major advances in today's midterm elections, it will be a colossal failure of both political parties and the American electorate. We fear that a democracy infected with such irrational thinking might not be long for this world.

How nutty is this talk of a possible GOP sweep? From 2000 to 2008, George W. Bush ran one of the most inept and corrupt administrations in American history. He inherited peace and prosperity from Democrat Bill Clinton and turned them into war and waste. The Bush White House failed on almost every substantive issue you can think of--the economy, foreign affairs, domestic security, justice, the environment. Bush, with the help of his fellow Republicans and conservative Democrats, brought our financial system to the edge of collapse and unleashed the worst economy since the Great Depression.

When Bush's reign mercifully ended in 2008, Americans wisely determined it was time to put adults in charge, ushering Barack Obama into the White House and putting Democrats in control of both houses in Congress.

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After two years of tepid leadership from Obama, Democrats can point to at least one major achievement--they helped avoid a complete economic disaster that almost certainly would have ensued if Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin were in charge.

The Democrats should have accomplished more. But avoiding a second Great Depression is, in itself, a major accomplishment. Unfortunately, Obama and company have failed to make that case to the American people.

That's why this is a failure of both parties. The Republican Party has devolved into such a dysfunctional mess that it is incapable of governing. Democrats, meanwhile, continue to specialize in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Obama reminds me of a relief pitcher who entered a baseball game with a 14-2 lead. Fearful of challenging hitters, he decided to nibble on the corners. That caused him to walk hitters, and combined with a few big hits from the other side, he saw his lead dwindle to 14-11. Today, the other team is about to tie the game--and maybe even take the lead.

I've heard about a pitching coach who would visit the mound when one of his charges was afraid to challenge hitters and offer this bit of advice: "Babe Ruth is dead. Throw the f-----g ball over the plate!"

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Yes, Babe Ruth is dead. And so is the Republican Party as a governing entity. But Barack Obama refused to throw dirt on their grave.

If today turns into a disaster for Democrats, the seeds for it probably were planted before Obama even took office. Here is how we reported it in an earlier post about Scott Brown's U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts:

We would suggest that the seeds of last night's fiasco for Democrats were planted much earlier than that--on January 11, 2009. That's the date that ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked President-Elect Barack Obama about the possible appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate crimes of the George W. Bush administration.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

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