Brad Plumer is so right on this it's hard to believe he's not been hired by the DCCC and given a corner office somewhere:

Look, last year no one was offering Senate Democrats a chance to "wash their hands" of Tom Daschle. Quite the opposite—the phrase "Daschle Democrats" spread far and wide across the airwaves, during the big push to paint the entire minority party as one giant ball of pure, black-hearted obstructionism. It was dirty, it was lame, it was disgusting, but that's how the fucking game goes. *No one* gets out of here alive!

Seriously, it's useless, entirely useless trying to turn Tom DeLay into a big lightning rod for all the outrage against the House's excesses these days. If that's what happens, he'll be purged in a minute's notice and then absolutely nothing will change. The GOP will just find someone else to do what DeLay does. Roy Blunt can do what DeLay does. The K Street stovepipe will still pump along. The rule-bending and committee-abusing will still go on. House Democrats will still be cut out of the decision-making process. DeLay's just the symptom of a larger disease, and that's how he ought to be treated and portrayed. Hm? Please, please get this right so I don't have to spend all my time being a shrill partisan hack. Thanks.

Agreed. Judged by temperament, I'm a pretty moderate guy. But there's no time to be moderate anymore, not if you've taken even the slightest look into what's going on in the House, in this Administration, in the Republican party, in the country -- the whole system is going so sour it makes me sick. Which is why I'd love to see the tumor removed. But it'd be terrifically moronic to make this about Tom DeLay, rather than make Tom DeLay about the Republican majority. If the former works, all the right has to do is pull him from the spotlight, either by snatching his position or forcing his resignation. Either way, the corruption train chugs along, just with a new conductor.

It's the same problem I'm seeing with Social Security. Democrats are gingerly testing the waters of attack politics, dipping in a toe here and there to criticize an opponent, or a policy, or a procedure. But they seem afraid, or maybe unwilling, to widen the assault, to kill something and tie the dead weight to the Republican party's neck. I'm glad we're nailing privatization, but it's not helping our poll numbers any. In fact, Democrats in congress are seeing the same drop -- though it's taking them even lower -- than their Republican counterparts. Tom DeLay's a really bad guy, but we're getting really excited at the sight of his weakness and not, so far as I can tell, working him into a long-term strategy. Rahm Emanuel can tap all the "squeaky-clean" candidates he wants, but if we make the scandal about the guy, once he's gone, there's no more scandal.

Privatization, DeLay, all these things need to become about the Republican party as a whole. Privatization needs to explain their unhealthy obsession with destroying the American safety net. DeLay needs to explain the tight embrace the Republican majority and industry lobbyists are locked into. Anything less allows them to lose a battle but escape the war. And, as the minority party, the status quo is too untenable for us to allow that.

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