Thursday, December 29, 2005

Yes, Virginia, there is hope for democracy in America

My Merry Holidays present to you: this column by Peter Schrag, "After 5 Bad Years, New Hope for Democracy in 2006."


Goodbye to 2005 and hallelujah. After the battering the Constitution has taken through five grim years, it's showing some signs of life.

The most conservative court in the country tells the administration to stop trying to manipulate the judiciary in its handling of terrorist suspects.

The most egregious snooping allowed by the Patriot Act may not survive congressional scrutiny next year; the dismantling of Social Security is dead. The phony "deficit-cutting" budget bill squeaks through the Senate on the vice president's tie-breaking vote: there's not a vote to spare.

One congressional crook, California's own Randy Cunningham, has resigned. The Hammer is twisting in the wind. His friend and patron Jack Abramoff is negotiating to rat out his former friends. Two other Californians, Richard Pombo and John Doolittle, are trying to avoid the stench of the Abramoff swamp.

Congress bans torture, despite heavy-handed pressure from America's No. 1 chicken hawk, whose own No. 1 aide has been indicted for lying in the outing of Valerie Plame.

And with the president's poll numbers down, the media, red-faced over their own dereliction of duty in the run-up to Iraq, seem to have found a little courage to challenge and question the administration's strategic leaks. A trial judge in Pennsylvania says intelligent design isn't science; it's thinly veiled religion. The school board that approved it is voted out of office.

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