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"It Was A Thumpin'"

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President Bush's attitude at his news conference the day after a disastrous election for the Republican party was conciliatory. After six looooong years of Republican (lack of) leadership in Congress under this presidency, the people of the United States have decided to replace the rubber-stamp, echo chamber that Congress has been, with a real Congress which reflects the nation's true opinion. Here are a couple more gems from that news conference. See if you pick up on a theme...
I told my party's leaders that it is now our duty to put the elections behind us and work together with the Democrats and independents on the great issues facing this country. {snip} I told Congresswoman Pelosi that I look forward to working with her and her colleagues to find common ground in the next two years. {snip} I believe that the leaders of both political parties must try to work through our differences. And I believe we will be able to work through differences. I reassured the House and Senate leaders that I intend to work with the new Congress in a bipartisan way to address issues confronting this country. {snip} What's changed today is the election is over, and the Democrats won. And now we're going to work together for two years to accomplish big objectives for the country.
Did you pick up on the theme? After six years in office, all of the sudden, NOOOOOOOW, the President is ready to "work together" with the Democrats in Congress. When the Democrats were in the minority, Bush couldn't care less what they thought. He basically likened them to terrorists and terrorist appeasers. The Democrats were the gum that stuck to his shoe. But NOOOOOOOW that the Democrats have a majority, he'll work with them. Clearly George W. Bush doesn't do anything outside of his own self-interest, or the self-interest of his neo-con cabal, until he's forced to do so. And I can't thank the American people enough for restoring true oversight (checks-and-balances) back into our federal government. A new era of oversight I can't express enough the importance of oversight. I've written reams and volumes about this rubber-stamp Congress and Bush's unchecked power, but please indulge me in one last metaphor. Some children might recognize the saying: "You cut and I'll choose". When one last piece of pie had to be shared between two children, and there was no adult around to make sure the slice was even, that's how we handled it - "You cut, and I'll choose". This was a sure-fire way to make sure the one who sliced the pie, did so evenly. Fairly. Justly. Perhaps the next person Bush nominates for the Supreme Court won't be a right-wing extremist. Perhaps he'll think twice about taking us into ANOTHER unjustified war (Iran or North Korea). And perhaps the decisions the Bush Administration makes over the next two years will be peppered with whether or not those decisions will prevail over the Democrat-controlled Congress. I know some things we WON'T be hearing in the next two years - "... an up-or-down vote!" and "... the Nuclear Option...". A referendum against conservative politics The media and the pundits are all analyzing what this election has meant to our country, our politics, and our mainstream values. Clearly this election was a referendum against the 'stay-the-course' strategy in Iraq, but I think there's a lot more behind the voting results. I believe this election proves that our values, beliefs, and opinions are more progressive & moderate than conservative. I believe this election proves that the Republican party has shifted too far to the 'right'. I believe this election proves that the Bush Administration's policies and all their happy talk are not cutting it for middle class. And I believe that the people in this country are fed up with the corruption in our government. This election has been a cleansing exercise. The lawmakers associated with Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, and the culture of corruption are not invited back to the table. Hurry up and get it done As a sign of how much disdain George W. Bush has for the new Democratic majority, take note on his actions in the immediate aftermath of the election. Notice how he said that the next few weeks are going to be very busy. Notice how he's trying to steamroll through the initiatives he knows won't pass in the next Congress such as making his tax cuts permanent. Notice how he ALREADY steamrolled through the Torture Bill... er... The Military Commissions Act. Notice how he's trying to re-nominate John Bolton AGAIN for Ambassador to the United Nations. This is a sign of someone who clearly is not poised to 'work with' the Democrats. The I-word The blogoshpere is now abuzz with talk about impeachment. Even though Nancy Pelosi profoundly took impeachment "off the table", there're already discussions about investigations, hearings, and subpoenas. Believe me, no one would like to see George W. Bush booted out of office more than me. However, I wouldn't want to have Bush impeached only to be left with President Cheney. Talk about jumping from the frying pan to the fire! The Democratic leadership is astutely proceeding in a very careful way so as to ensure the appearance that they're trying to progress. They're trying to move forward. They're trying to do their jobs, work for the benefit of the American people, and not be perceived as vindictive. They're not trying to settle a score with the man (the team) who's (mis)lead our country into an unjustified war and literally bankrupted our treasury. I commend the Democratic leadership team for their insight, their foresight, their poise and their patience. Now that the Democrats have the majority in both houses of Congress, chair the committees, and control the legislative agenda, we'll see how President Bush reacts to the initiatives that are put in front of him to sign. I have every confidence that the Democratic-controlled Congress will be putting forth legislation to the betterment of the American people, such as raising the minimum wage, implementing the 9/11 commission recommendations, lowering the interest rates on student loans, actually funding the 'No Child Left Behind' mandates, and allowing the government to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for pricing for Medicare. If Mr. Bush now becomes the obstructionist, then I say we move forward with the Impeachment process, for both him and Vice-President Cheney. Let's see how much he's REALLY willing to 'work with' the Democratic majority. He talks a good game, but he's lied about everything else, so I have no confidence in his sincerity. Let's see if he's REALLY willing to start the troop re-deployment process from Iraq. Let's see if he's REALLY willing to submit to oversight and scrutiny. Let's see if he's REALLY willing to get warrants before wiretapping American's telephones. Let's see if he's REALLY willing to sign bills withOUT signing statements. These next two years are gonna be fun!
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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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