I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
The Friedman Unit is always the latest in the endless endless series of six month periods after which we supposedly will finally see visible progress in Iraq. It got its name after Thomas Friedman who has continually been asking us to wait yet another six months ever since we got there.
Now that the Democrats are giving Da Prez all the money he wants but for shorter and shorter intervals, the Republicans will have to invoke the endless Friedman Unit even more frequently.
Unfortunately, the Dems will NOT cut off funds, and will NOT put an end to the death of our kids. Because it is not in their best political interest to end the war. The more of our kids who die, the more Democrats will get elected, as noted by William S. Lind:
All the Democratic majorities in Congress have to do is condition the funding for the Iraq war with the words, “No funds may be obligated or expended except for the withdrawal of all American forces from Iraq, and for such force protection actions as may be necessary during that withdrawal.” If Bush vetoes the bill, he vetoes continued funding for the war. If he signs the bill, ignores the legislative language and keeps fighting the war in the same old way, he sets himself up for impeachment.
What’s not to like?
For the Democrats, what’s not to like is anything that might actually end the war before the 2008 elections. The Republicans have 21 Senate seats up in 2008, and if the Iraq war is still going on, they can count on losing most of them, along with the Presidency and maybe 100 more seats in the House. 2008 could be the new 1932, leaving the Republican Party a permanent minority for twenty years. From the standpoint of the Democratic Party’s leadership, a few thousand more dead American troops is a small price to pay for so glowing a political victory.
The likely result of all this Washington dodging is that events on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere will outrun the political process. That in turn means a systemic crisis, the abandonment of both parties by their bases and a possible left-right grass roots alliance against the corrupt and incompetent center. In that possibility may lie the nation’s best hope.
In the United States we have a two-party, winner take all system. When Ross Perot took 19% of the popular vote in the Presidential election in 1992, he got nothing, and Bill Clinton won despite only getting 43% of the vote. So (like it or not) (especially not), in order to win elections, only the two major parties typically have any realistic chance, and any group wanting a say in the political process has to join in a coalition with either the Republicans or Democrats.
The many and varied interest groups don’t just automatically like the positions and values of the major parties, so shifting alliances can occur at any time if the groups feel they can do better with the other party, and one party or the other can form a coalition that may allow them to take control for long periods.
In the 1930s, after the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought together the many disadvantaged into an alliance against the rapaciously wealthy that lasted for many decades.
Then, as the Democrats slowly began themselves to be corrupted by the corporate elite and failed to deliver value to their supporters, the coalition began to crumble, and the Republicans began to take control by developing their own coalition, first with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and finally when the Republicans took over both houses of Congress in 1994. They got control by creating an unlikely alliance of what ought to have been disparate interest groups. But they succeeded.
If we are a group that wants our values and principles represented in the political process, we simply must understand where we fit in to the current system of political coalitions and alliances, and how we can achieve more leverage.
So….much more is coming detailing past, current, and future political coalitions…