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Take a pass in 2006? Solutions lacking thus far

In a recent editorial in the New York Times, Bob Herbert, lamenting the legacy of ruin that is being constructed by the White House, writes, “There are not enough pretty words in all the world to cover up the damage that George W. Bush has done to his country. If the United States could look at itself in a mirror, it would be alarmed and ashamed at what it saw.”

Herbert makes the case that the ineptitude of those charged to run the country is so egregious it all but defies belief.

So, if you are blue and watch in alarm as things seem to be going from bad to worse, then it would be appropriate to begin counting the months and days, not only until the mid-term elections, but November, 2008. A bumper sticker that might have legs: 2008: are we there yet?

It’s also understandable to wonder how much damage this administration might do in those 30-plus months remaining in its tenure. It will be the years of our growing discontent.

But in an editorial in the Sunday Times, Adam Nagourney proffered an interesting idea, one that is reflective of how convoluted things have gotten in Washington. Because the Republicans have demonstrated that they are the gang that can’t shoot straight, he wonders if it might not be better for the Democrats not to win one or both houses in Congress come November; rather, it might be best if they narrowly missed winning anything.

“For now, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world politically to watch the Republicans struggle through the last two years of the Bush presidency,” he writes.

Nagourney mentions gas prices, Iraq, corruption investigations, cynical infighting in the president’s own party, and more. Nagourney worries that if the Democrats win by a narrow margin, they will have responsibility without authority and thus serve as a foil for President Bush, who is desperate to share the blame for the train wreck he’s engineered.

The most significant problem the Times and many other other pundits fail to mention is the paucity of couragous leadership within the Democratic party as well. We have seen nothing, particularly in the last two elections that suggest a Democratic victory in ’06 will produce a determined leadership that can stand in the trenches with the GOP and its president, and produce a meaningful result.

Naturally, it’s a far easier role to sit in the cheap seats and be the vociferous critics, which Democrats enjoy doing. The challenge for 2006 is, can they articulate leadership and then produce results based on a winning vote?

So much needs to be righted. Let the games begin and let someone ... anyone... be courageous, fire the handlers and learn to speak an unvarnished truth.

Americans are ready, or at least we hope so.

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