Enemy of the Week

Super Republicans

They're bowling Democrats over.

By 2.2.09

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Wow, that was a close one, saving President Obama's credibility in the pigskin world. A day after he predicted economic recovery will take years, not months, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team he endorsed, needed only two minutes to recover their lead and eke out a win in a heavily regulated Super Bowl. Pittsburgh won even though standout wide-receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who played for the losing Arizona Cardinals, declined to switch sides after the Steelers' dominated play through the first quarter. There is honor among pass snatchers.

Today we learn if New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican, will resign from the Senate to become our nation's and President Obama's (notice how he's always referring his cabinet members of "my" such and such secretary) Commerce Secretary. Why Gregg would want to pick up where Gov. Bill Richardson left off is anyone's guess. Does he loathe Harry Reid that much? Perhaps the President has assured him that it will take years, not months, before Commerce has any business to transact. More likely, it's another example of how the Republicans have learned to flex their muscles as never before. The fewer of them remain in Congress, even as their minority numbers shrink toward the single digits, the more imposing and intimidating their political authority becomes.

Despite holding huge and expanding majorities in both houses, Democrats fear for their legitimacy. When a stimulus bill easily passes without Republican participation, they regard it as a major defeat. Their toadies in the media join forces to denounce and taunt the Republicans for refusing to cooperate. Ignoring these catcalls and insults to their maternal heritage, the Republicans emerge ever cleaner and stronger. It's clear what's going on. No junkie likes to inject himself. Better if a handsome young stranger does the trick. Sorry guys. Compassionate conservatism moved back to Texas on January 20.

Of course, the entire deal could be jeopardized if New Hampshire's Democratic governor appoints a Republican to complete the final two years of Gregg's term, thereby setting up the possibility of a return to the Senate by genuine economic conservative John Sununu in 2010, meaning growing Republican numeral strength and consequently declining political prowess. But let's not jump the gun and add to the Democrats' skittishness. It's hard enough on them not to see any resolution of the Minnesota recount in a way that would allow the seating of Al Franken and thereby strengthen the Republicans' hand still further.

The Democrats face other pressing problems, above all those having to do with former Sen. Tom Daschle's recent charitable donations to the Internal Revenue Service. In their intensely competitive world, it's not every Democrat who can afford to write out a six-figure check to a worthy cause. Mr. Daschle, who hopes to sacrifice further by becoming President Obama's point man on nationalizing health care, seems to be in the driver's seat on this one, even if he's not actually the driver. But he is the driving force behind a well-researched plan that would replace traumatic ambulance services with limousine delivery to our nation's hospitals and emergency rooms.

Notice that there hasn't been much attention paid to the important post of Drug Czar in the new administration. But that's because no naturally qualified candidate had emerged who might make the nation forget the pioneering work Bill Bennett did in that post many drug interdictions ago. Thankfully, that shortcoming has been rectified. Michael Phelps brings hands-on, mouth-to-source experience, he's a national hero, and his solid medal count is certain to win over Republican monetarists of the Ron Paul persuasion.

One small problem: our fact checking department informs us that Mr. Obama already has an acting drug czar of sorts, one Edward Jurith, who is so little known that some presume him to be working under cover, even though he held the job for 11 months under the second President Bush. Could he be our EOW this time, for failing to test Sen. Daschle's driver and Michael Phelps's lungs? And not planting drugs on Washington's remaining Republicans?

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