A Good Day for Bruce Reed 

A Good Day for Bruce Reed

As "The Has Been" on Slate:

The real looters, Reed suggests, caught in reckless acts of desperation, are the Republicans in Congress.

But walk a mile in their shoes and ask yourself: Amid that atmosphere of chaos and moral breakdown, who among us would not have grabbed every scrap for our district that we could?

How could looting go on in the most indebted country on earth? Instead of condemning desperate individuals, we should lay blame where it belongs: on the failure of local leaders who should have known better.

Even now, those leaders are refusing to take responsibility or change their ways. Tom DeLay—whose performance, most would agree, has been a disappointment from the outset—warned that reopening the highway bill to cut pork would invite others to put still more pork back in.

That is our deepest fear: that the looting will happen again. Too many of the greatest offenders don't even consider it looting—they call it "borrowing."

Never Again: While we commend this new effort to learn from past mistakes, the most important lesson is to take all necessary steps to prevent disaster in the first place. This time, leaders must be willing to take the drastic measure that some experts have urged for years: an immediate, mandatory evacuation of Congress before it's too late.

A complete evacuation will not be easy. Some members cannot afford transportation. Some will need money to get by. Force may be necessary for those who insist on staying put.

The big question is: why are no prominent Democratic leaders talking this way? The old shark leader is largely toothless now, lazily floating in warm, shallow water, waiting for his minions to bring him fresh meat. But now the minions are also losing their edge: they greedily gorge on whatever they find, without thinking of bringing back the best carcasses to the leader, for the good of the team. Why can't the Democrats take advantage? If anything they are circling the wagons around ideological true believers more than ever, listening to the echo chamber, and plaintively crying: "Why aren't we popular?" (See Kaus; stroll down to "In Defence of Good Policy").

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