The most damaging actual effect of such an outcome, one few people have focused on yet, is that once Republicans gain the chairmanships of House committees, they will begin launching investigation after investigation into the Obama administration, for example on charges that the Justice Department has shown racial favoritism in refusing to prosecute the New Black Panther Party of Philadelphia for alleged electoral irregularities. These will have little or no meaningful basis in fact but will attempt to distract the administration from its policy objectives, make it look dirty, and with any luck catch a big fish on the hook of perjury or obstruction of justice. (Look for the theme of “Chicago-style thuggery,” which was bandied about here and there earlier but never quite caught on outside the right-wing echo chamber, to reemerge.) The Republicans play to win.Didn't the New York Review of Books, you know, review books at some point? Now it privileges perorations on the DANGERS of RETHUGLICANS. The whole thing reads like a Kos diary. "Distract the administration from its policy objectives"! The humanity!
By my scientific count, Michael Tomasky is the one million three hundred thousand six hundred and seventy-eighth person to make each and every one of the observations contained in the excerpted article, which is to do what the Donk generally does and elevate banality to a cardinal virtue; to make stating the obvious a fundamental principle. As liberal commenters scratch their heads over why the Democrats fail to articulate the case for their own perpetual stewardship of all good things here on this green earth forever and ever, praise be, the real mechanism of the factional duopoly is perfectly plain. Party-in-power tradeoffs lend the illusion of democratic legitimacy, and meanwhile, once more for the cheap seats: Republicans drive the empire; Democrats consolidate and rationalize what their partners have wrought. George Bush expands the global gulag; Barack Obama writes the employee handbook. The Republicans promise billions to the banks; the Democrats do the accounting. It's not a competition; it's a partnership.
But it's a silent partnership, and guys like Tomasky serve an important function. By emphasizing falsely differing interests on either side, they obscure the fundamental collaboration at work. It's a strategy as old as business. Two secret partners negotiate from opposite sides against the poor suckers in the middle, who think they're going to get a good deal playing one side against the other, but who only get played instead.