News & Opinion » Columns

XX Files - 12.14.05

Merry Democratsmas


Merry Democratsmas

With all the gifts the Republicans have been giving Democrats lately, I think we should change Christmas to Democratsmas. I know: there's been a big hue and cry about taking Christ out of Christmas, and here I am replacing him with Democrats. That's probably heretical to some. Others might say the energy and time spent by the Christian Right boycotting stores with generic holiday messages is heretical.

Instead of censoring holiday expressions, shouldn't the Christian Right be fighting the poverty that has risen in leaps and bounds since President Bush took office? Or, as one ex-Congressman put it, shouldn't it be working toward putting Christ back into war planning? Maybe someone took what's right out of the Christian Right.

That brings us back to Democratsmas. New revelations about deceitful war planning are among the great bounty of gifts the Republicans have showered on the largely ungrateful Dems. Gifts like the indictments of key Republicans, investigations into a dozen Abramoff cronies, and record-low presidential approval ratings. Gifts like Katrina evacuees, on the eve of the holidays --- excuse me, on the eve of Christmas --- sweating the housing subsidies that a stingy Administration and Republican-controlled Congress seek to end.

But do Democratic leaders use these to their advantage? Do they unwrap these goodies and hold them up for the all the world to see? Do they build a coherent case against the Republicans? No.

For months leading up to Democratsmas, Dems have been acting like greedy children, tearing open one gift after another and tossing them in a heap. And they whine and complain like spoiled brats.

"Get out of Iraqnow or I'll hold my breath 'til I turn blue," they say. And, "I didn't want to vote for the war; they tricked me."

Yes, they're right; we have to get out (though I'd argue for a gradual withdrawal.) And Congress was tricked. It did not have at least two crucial bits of information that Bush had in the buildup to the war, according to recent reports. One was the early discrediting of our source on the so-called mobile biological weapons labs and the other was a report, presented to Bush 10 days after 9/11, which showed Saddam was not involved in the attacks.

But, really. If the Dems would just stop throwing tantrums and look around the room, they'd see that we were all tricked. And we're mad about it. Dems are too busy backpedaling and impatiently demanding an early withdrawal from Iraq to hear the carolers.

This season Americans are gathered around the hearth, singing as one, according to recent polls, like never before. Our carols ring out across the land: We like Bush less now than we did Clinton at this same time in his tenure. We think the country is seriously off-track. We want Congress to ask more questions about the president's policy in Iraq. And, crucially, if an election were held today, polls show, more of us would vote for a Democrat --- any Democrat --- than a Republican. But the Democrats are throwing these advantages away.

If Santa's elves worked an extra month, they couldn't make the pile of toys Democrats have been handed: The rampant culture of ethics violations. The no-bid contracts for hurricane and Iraq rebuilding. The disappearance of billions of Iraq reconstruction dollars. The president's recent portrayal of 11 Iraqi battalions (which was later discounted as optimistic to the point of magical thinking).

To help Democrats make the most of Democratsmas this year, I've reworded a popular Christmas carol. Democrats everywhere: clip and save!

The 12 Days of Democratsmas

On the twelfth day of Democratsmas the Republicans gave to me:

Twelve Republicans under investigation,

Eleven Iraqi battalions cowering,

Tens of thousands of Katrina evacuees still not settled,

9/11 Report recommendations being ignored,

$8 billion in Iraq gone missing,

Seven (or so) secret sites a-torturing,

Six Abramoff-bilked Indian tribes hurting,

Five golden presidential vacation weeks,

45 million uninsured Americans,

Three top indicted Republicans,

Two thousand, one hundred thirty-plus dead American soldiers,

And a Constitution under siege.

Once upon a time, a Democratic president handed the Republicans a smallish gift, a little blue dress stained with a whisper of gossip. Just a rag, really. Did the Republicans fuss and kvetch? No. They took that little dress and put on a show, the likes of which this country had never seen. They mounted a five-year, Broadway-style, big-budget spectacle. Hypnotized, the voters turned against a popular president who had led us through a time of economic growth and prosperity.

Face it, what the Republicans had on Clinton is nothing compared to what we have against them now. Democrats! Grow up, bundle up, and head out into the cold, singing your song loud and clear.