Bush's insistence that his plans for reconstructing the U.S. gulf coast won't entail rolling back any past or proposed tax cuts shows that nothing really has changed and that the real power in Washington remains Grover Norquist and his Americans For Tax Reform. Norquist group reports that in addition to W himself, 221 US Representatives and 46 Senators have signed the so-called "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which "solemnly bind[s]" them "to oppos[ing] any and all tax increases." If you want to get an idea of how these sleazeballs operate check out Elizabeth Drew's Selling Washington. Drew observes:
Not only is legislation increasingly skewed to benefit the richest interests, but Congress itself has been changed. The head of a public policy strategy group told me, "It's not about governing anymore. The Congress is now a transactional institution. They don't take risks. So when a great moral issue comes up— like war—they can't deal with it." The theory that ours is a system of one-person-one-vote, or even that it's a representative democracy, is challenged by the reality of power and who really wields it. Barney Frank argues that "the political system was supposed to overcome the financial advantage of the capitalists, but as money becomes more and more influential, it doesn't work that way."
It's time for the Dem's to get out front and make it clear that responsible reconstruction of the gulf region cannot be achieved under this regime.