secrets and substance
“So if the Democrats want a truth commission, and the Republicans and Dick Cheney want a truth commission, why can’t we order up a double order of truth commission? Am I missing something here?” ~ John Cole
Of course neither the Democrats nor the Republicans actually want a truth commission. They all just want to be properly postured when it becomes apparent that a truth commission is inevitable.
To me, Pelosi’s denial (and accusation against the CIA) lays bare a deeper truth about the Democrats. Without Obama they’d be nearly as big a mess as the Republicans. Most of them are complicit in the Bush torture program and the wars. The party is almost headless without Obama – led by the fickle and hardly inspiring Reid/Pelosi duo. After Obama, if conservatives learn anything over the next eight years – yes, I’m predicting it will be eight – unless the Democrats get some sort of order and discipline and more importantly, some grander vision, then I think the GOP should have no trouble at all coming in and cleaning up.
Tony Blair’s true heir will be David Cameron, not Gordon Brown. Similarly, I can imagine a state-side conservative following somewhat in the mold of our current President – much as Cameron’s charisma mirrors that of Blair. It is often the party out of power that learns the most, both from its own mistakes and from the mistakes of its opponents. Of course, the GOP shows no signs of learning from or even admitting to any mistakes, nor do they exhibit any talent for adaptation. They have adopted the ostrich approach to politics.
So much rests in the personality of our leaders in the democratic system. This cannot be stressed enough. This is the fundamental problem with Cheney taking the spotlight – or Limbaugh or any of the other vapid, bellicose pundits of the Republican party; and likewise it is Brown’s dourness as much as his perceived incompetence which has put him at such a disadvantage to the Blairesque Cameron.
Personality is also the fundamental strength of the Democrats now that Obama is at the helm – which isn’t to say that the President does not have vision or ability – quite the contrary I’d say – but the truth of the matter is the Democratic brand itself lacks any real substance. Reliance on personality politics is a serious problem with both parties, neither of which seems to have struck up much of a coherent, guiding philosophy to push their agendas.
I mentioned this the other day in the comments, but I sometimes think that Congress should be shipped off to some desert island while in session, far from the preening eyes of the media or the desperate clutches of K street and the special interests that make our legislation so special. Can anyone honestly imagine the founding fathers crafting the constitution whilst under the white hot glare of a 24 hour news cycle? Could such a document ever be produced with the multitude of special interests we have now all clamoring for some privilege or other?
The founding fathers had special interests of course – each with a natural stake in the interests of their home states and the various commercial concerns of the day. It was the magical act of locking themselves away for a few months that allowed them to get anything done. In secret.
“Secrecy is the first essential in affairs of state.” ~ Cardinal Richelieu
“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” ~ J.F.K.