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2009 Can't Come Soon Enough

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Like the majority of people in this country, I was giddy and ecstatic when the Democrats took over the majority in both houses of Congress last November. I thought that finally we'd have some checks-and-balances on the Bush Administration's executive power grab. I thought that maaaaaybe there would be some common sense back in our government. I thought that the progressive agenda might get a little headway. I thought there was a possibility that Darth & Dubya might be humbled into acknowledging the will of the people, particularly after the Iraq Study Group's recommendations also encouraged redeployment of troops and political solutions engaging the neighbors. But noooooooo. If nothing else, this week taught me that even though the Democrats have the majority, they really don't have enough control in Congress to "Get 'er done". The rules of the Senate are such that they protect the voices of the minority. And as such, the Republicans still wield enough power and influence to obstruct democratic progress. While level-headed senators try to send a (non-binding) non-escalation message to the president, the slant-headed senators (i.e. Republicans & Lieberman) are busy pulling parliamentary maneuvers to prevent even debating the issue. Given all that's happened, not just this week but over the last two months since the election, I'm ready to make some predictions...
  • Very little progress, if any, will be made in the next two years. It will take one more election cycle to posture our government for getting positive things accomplished. Not until after the Democrats take over the Executive branch of government will this dark cloud be lifted.
  • Bush's agenda for the remaining two years of his presidency will be mixed. Anything he can do (i.e. get away with) that doesn't require Congressional approval, he'll move forward with. At the same time, if he can bully Congress into approval, he'll do that too. You can see that's already happened with all of the Democrats except Russ Feingold vowing to continue funding the troops already in the theatre. God forbid they get demonized with the tag of not supporting the troops. Any of Bush's new agenda items will not make it through Congress. THIS Congress will not rubberstamp Cheney's big-business giveaways.
  • The Democrat's agenda will go nowhere. While Bush is in office he'll veto anything the Democrats send across his desk if it doesn't jive with HIS agenda. They don't have enough votes to override a veto, so there will be tons of significant legislation that will have to wait. I'm holding out hope for stem-cell research and minimum wage which might have veto-proof support.
  • A major incident will take place that the Bush Administration will pin on Iran (true or not) and then they'll extend the Middle East conflict in that direction. All signs are pointing to Bush wanting to attack Iran, as they've goaded them repeatedly with threats, kidnapping (i.e. detaining) their nationals, and economic sanctions. As long as Bush is in office, things can only get worse.
Yes... my fellow Americans, 2009 can't come soon enough. And until that time, we'll continue living under a cloud of darkness with middle class people hurting at home and tensions escalating abroad. Bush will get his 'surge' so Halliburton & Blackwater will continue to rake it in. However, as the death toll rises and it becomes abundantly clear that the surge idea was imbecilic, all of the Republicans (and Lieberman) who supported it, will burn. Hopefully, the 2008 election will move the Senate & the House even further towards the Democrats. Just imagine... in 2009, with a Democrat in the White House AND the House & Senate dominantly Democratic, we might actually see some daylight.
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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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