Those of us fascinated by American History recall those delightful days when the Democratic Party took the fight to the Republicans on programs it championed. How markedly different is the timid example demonstrated under the "leadership" of Harry Reid.
Earlier in the week I wrote an article advancing the idea that the Democrats had a ready made issue to take to the voters in the upcoming mid-term election. That issue was tax cuts and even as seasoned a neo-conservative strategist as Grover Norquist conceded that this could be a difficult issue for Republicans if Democrats exploited this potential strategic advantage.
With more Americans hurting by the day, with many unemployed and others working more hours than ever while seeing their standards of living eroding, there would be a massive reaction to the idea of continuing the Bush tax cuts with an emphasis on maintaining assistance to individuals in the top two percent. Economists have estimated that maintaining those cuts would cause the ever burgeoning debt to expand by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
In my earlier article I predicted that, while a potential winning issue had fallen into the Democrats' laps, based on recent past performances it is likely that they would once more meekly back away rather than aggressively champion the issue before voters. Others who commented on my article agreed.
So unhappily, backing away is the route that Harry Reid followed as he announced that there would be no debate and vote on tax legislation in this session. The reason that on the scene reporters gave on why the latest Democratic Party retreat had been launched was that the Democrats who prevailed on the strategy front concluded that the Republicans would run political ads on the subject.
This means, of course, that Republicans will not run ads on the subject of tax legislation now. By backing away Reid effectively killed off the issue. Just what world is Senator Harry Reid living in anyway? On this point he appears as far removed from reality as Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate opposing him.
We recall the smear campaign the Republicans led by Karl Rove launched against Democrats regarding creation of the office of Homeland Security. Democrats like Vietnam War hero, Senator Max Cleland, supported the Bush Administration legislation. They opposed one element, with which unions were understandably concerned, that element of the proposal that denied workers the same rights that other federal employees enjoyed.
So what happened? Vietnam chicken hawk Rove masterminded television ads on behalf of Vietnam chicken hawk Saxby Chambliss picturing Cleland, a man who had lost limbs on behalf of his country, along with Osama bin Laden.
What are Republicans going to do on the advertising front regarding tax legislation? With seemingly endless funds from special interests they will paint Democrats as opposing tax cuts for Americans at a time when they are needed to stimulate the economy. This message will be repeatedly hammered home until election day.
The Democrats had the chance to confront the Republicans with a direct and open frontal assault from which they could not be saved as they can in 30 second television ads where the truth can be twisted out of any semblance of reality. The Democrats caved in again, a frequent and sickening process.
It was related on Keith Olbermann's Thursday night program that Senator Tom Harken of Iowa, a staunch liberal who could normally be expected to fight hard on such an important issue as tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, said that Democrats could not achieve a vote on tax legislation because the Republicans would not let them.
So who is in the numerical majority in the U.S. Senate? Even if this were not the case and defeat loomed, the way that one confronts the opposition successfully is by aggressively taking a position and putting the other side in a vulnerable hot seat. In this case national polling is clearly on the side of Democrats regarding this vital issue.
Once more the Democrats walk away from a fight. Once more an important potential advantage is lost as the Republicans are free to again fight a crucial battle over a vital issue on the comfortable ground that they love, via 30 second ads that they can totally control and can be manipulated to serve their ends while truth and reason are shelved.