According to the latest news reports, the Democrats have taken power in the House. This is extraordinarily satisfying, because hopefully this means there’s going to be some positive force in government.
But we (and here I actually mean you, House Democrats) can’t get cocky. Oh sure, we want to. The big Republican bully, the one that’s called us names and equated us with terrorists, has been kicked to the curb. He’s wounded, but there is still power to grab and scores to settle, and he does still control the White House (and the Senate, although hopefully that might change by tomorrow).
You’re going to be getting lots of advice in the coming days, but read mine first.
- Go ahead and call it a mandate, just to piss off George Bush. But only do it once.
- Check your house before you enter the House. By this I mean: there can be no skeletons, no dirty tricks, no backroom shady deals. The Republicans are losing because they’ve failed to govern, yes, but it’s also because they’re corrupt. Extremely corrupt. And they’ve done whatever they can to hide that corruption. House leadership means actual checks and balances, and I’m hoping to see a whole host of subpoenas and investigations to root out the grubby crap that’s infested the government. It’s vitally important that the corruption sticks with the Republicans. Don’t think that because you’re in power you can start to get away with the same shit. If a Democrat is embezzling funds, beating his or her spouse, profiting from legitimate shady land deals, or has someone’s head in a freezer, discipline them severely and appropriately. You need to prove to the country that the Democratic party is not what the Republicans have sneered, and that the good of the country comes before the good of the party or the individual.
- Do not, at least at first, push all the Republican enmity under the rug in the name of mending fences and bipartisanship. Yes, I want us all to get along, but the best way to do that right now is to prove that Democrats can lead and govern, and that’s not going to happen if you become the pansy-asses that you know you can be. Take the reins and make it work.
- I don’t know how to say this nicely: cast Lieberman out. He lost his party’s primary, but couldn’t handle losing his power, so he ran as an independent. His words and actions indicate that he’ll say anything to keep that power, and that he’s a Bush Republican in everything but name. So, let him walk in the wilderness. No high-ranking committee appointments (if that’s an option). Personally, I suspect that he’ll just turn Republican, although he’s been the best mole in the Democratic party that a Republican could hope for, so maybe he’ll try to stick with that role.
- Finally, work hard, be honest, and don’t fuck this up.