The New Sheriff in Town Moment
by Matt Stoller, Sat Oct 07, 2006 at 04:33:35 PM EDT
Alright, let's talk agenda for 2007-2008. And I don't mean policy. Let's assume that we are going to take the House, and we may or may not take the Senate. We need to realize that we are winners, and learn to act like it.
If taking the House happens, it's going to be brutal for the Republicans, on a political and personal level. It's not just the destruction of the K-Street project, the investigations, the minimum wage increases, etc. In DC, it's not just that thousands of good policy jobs in DC will leave the Republican party and go to Democrats in the House because two thirds of the committee staff are going to switch from R to D. It's the little things, like the fact that the crappy old used blackberries that Democratic staffers get on the hill because of the Republican administrators are vindictive will go to Republicans instead. It's the little touches that are meant to wreck Democratic dignity that will be turned around. And with that turnaround, hopefully Democratic pride will come back. We will be winners, and they will be losers.
While the policy objectives in 2007 are important, I think it's more important to focus on the first fight that's going to happen. It's critical that the Democrats pick one specific fight, fight it, and humiliate their right-wing opponents. Be vindictive. Treat them the way you were treated. It's not just fair, it's immoral to do otherwise. They must pay for the norms they violated, the brutal civic tissue they ripped up for power. And then, in your first fight, pick one aggregated of right-wing power, and crush it. It could be national religious broadcasters - mandate that local content requirements be upped so you can wreck their business model. It could be media conglomerates - reform the FCC to give it teeth. It could be changing Medicare Part D in a way that really hurts the pharmaceutical lobby. It could be real ethics reform. It could be a special CEO or billionaires tax, with a special tax rate that increases on corporate officers based on the amount they pay their lowest subcontractor's employee. It could be agribusiness reform to turn the tide against Cargill and Monsanto and towards small farmers.
Just. Don't. Be. Nice.
In 1981, the first thing Reagan did was crush the air traffic controllers union, just so he could announce there's a new sheriff in town. His first legislative year was a phenomenal political success.
What's going to be our 'new sheriff in town' moment?