The trouble with Democrats

Polls--and common sense--suggest a real possibility of a Democratic
majority in the House, yet Rove continues to project confidence that
Republicans have the election in the bag. That attitude may be (partly)
strategic, but there are two possible bases for it. (a) The Enterprise
reached Iran yesterday. As an article I forwarded this week points out,
a "false flag" attack would provide the basis for attacking Iran, as
Bush has been dying to do. As insanely catastrophic as that would be,
many Americans may well be stupid enough to rally to the cry: "Don't
pull the rug out from under us now; we're committed to this war." (b)
Another article I forwarded claimed that 80% of the votes this election
will be on machines owned by a company loyal to Republicans.

I don't know the degree to which Republicans may be relying on each of
these strategies. One theory holds that, even if most people were to
see an attack on Iran as a political manipulation and be repelled by it,
it could still be spun to explain an otherwise mysterious last-minute
surge in support as revealed by the voting machines. But what is
persistently strangely is the silence and complicity of the Democrats.
Nancy Pelosi describes herself as standing "shoulder to shoulder" with
Bush (calling up an image of their leading the troops, like George
Washington, into battle in Baghdad or Teheran?), and insists that
impeachment is out of the question, should she become Majority Leader.
Part of the problem, of course, is just that Democrats and Republicans
agree so widely on policy, including war. The $75,000,000 that
Feinstein's husband has made on contracts in Iraq enabled them to buy a
$15,000,000 mansion in Pacific Heights. But on the purely partisan
issue of electoral fraud, the dogged silence of the Democrats still
surprises me--unless they fear that their own electoral abuses would be
exposed at the same time. But that kind of consideration doesn't seem
to apply to sexual transgressions, of which both parties are also

Two friends have recently offered helpful observations. One thinks that
going to Washington actually changes people. There's some evidence for
that. My recent forward from the Rolling Stone, "The Worst Congress
Ever," is a long partisan rant; but the details of daily operations of
Congress come as a shock even to a congenital cynic like myself. Anther
makes the astute observation that Democrats comprise two classes of
welfare recipients, academic intellectuals like me and the traditional
ones, neither of whom has any experience in getting things done in the
real world. The entrepreneurs are all Republicans.

I think a third factor may be relevant: that Democrats, unlike
Republicans, don't have a concept of evil, and therefore are unprepared
to recognize and deal with it. That doesn't mean, of course, that they
are any more virtuous; it's only a difference in the way they think
about human action.

Whatever is going on, I think we're right now in a more dangerous
situation than we've ever been in, and at the same time my perception is
that apathy is higher than it has been in 50 years.