last chance for the Democrats?

I for one don't think there is a chance, a chance that they will pick up the challenge, but here's the case outlined.

The big, unacknowledged picture is this: The people in power represent an economic clique whose interests are only superficially tied to the well-being of the country as a whole. In collusion with their delighted big-money supporters, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their Cabinet-level entourage spent years lining their pockets with sweetheart loans, option deals and golden parachutes from oil companies and other related industries. They built political careers thundering against regulation, fueled by a cozy camaraderie with Enron and like companies that grew fat on--surprise!--deregulation. In office, these men make energy policy in cahoots with their ultra-wealthy sponsors, a club of very special Americans whose membership list they still keep secret. They consistently fight to secure America's energy dependency on oil and related fuels. Toward that end, defying the understanding of virtually everyone else in the world, they have denied the existence of global warming, willfully distorting the scientific evidence. When its own government scientists sounded alarms, the Bush posse dismissed them as ''the bureaucracy" and kept galloping down the oily path toward even more catastrophic global climate changes associated with petroleum dependency.


Democrats have a golden opportunity now to pound the podium and make a case to the nation that the interests in power--the interests who won a minority of the ballots cast but a majority of the Supreme Court during the 2000 presidential election--cannot be relied on to solve problems that their entire careers were devoted to creating. These interests are in revolt against plain American value and virtue. Even the honest men and women among them cannot muster the resolve to reform--their thinking is too deeply molded by the lives they've led.


Now, the Democrats need to do more than win the votes for this or that new corporate regulation. They need to move beyond merely feeling smug about how the Republicans have sabotaged themselves. They need to confess their own sins--as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has done. But even more, they need to back the Republicans into their chosen corner. They need to connect with the healthy side of American skepticism. They need to be thunderous and clear on the essentials.

If the Democrats forfeit the opportunity now handed them to connect all the flaming dots, they are truly as flabby, corrupt and venal as Ralph Nader says.

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Published on July 23, 2002 1:58 PM.

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