Wednesday, July 23, 2003

A hopeful sign for the future

So, the Republican led House of Representatives voted 400-21 to rescind the recent attempt by the FCC to weaken media monopoly rules. This is a surprising development on several levels. First of all there is the fact that so many Republicans, especially HOUSE Republicans, would essentially vote in favor of media regulation (using the equivalent of the Republican "tax hike" argument that says that if you vote to repeal something that hasn't come into effect you are effectively voting to impose the thing that would have been repealed). At the next level there is the fact that they would do so in the face of a veto threat from their commander in chief. And then finally there is the fact that Bush would make this kind of threat without knowing in advance that it would be so badly repudiated. The last is perhaps the most startling development. Bush, recall, has yet to use his veto power. In fact, the Bushies like to brag about the fact that they haven't had to do so. It indicates the degree to which they control the legislative agenda that just the mere whisper that they might do it can keep the Congress from passing something that Bush doesn't like. That the Republicans in the House still passed this under such a threat indicates a couple of things: (1) they aren't as afraid of the threat as they used to be (could this be fallout from the WMD scandal?) and (2) the WH congressional liaisons really dropped the ball in not seeing that the threat would be brushed off so soundly. Could this be an indication that the Bushies are losing their touch when it comes to dictating the debate in Washington? We can but hope.


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