Is The Media Shielding The Dems?

The vast majority of the mainstream media has been playing down possible fears of a radical change in governance should Democrats take the House and or Senate in the 2006 mid-term elections. They've reported John Conyers statements regarding backing away from impeachment and we've heard little if anything about what a Democrat controlled legislature might do.

Apparently now someone is talking and it's being reported locally, what remains to be seen is how broadly it'll be picked up by the mainstream press.

At least one report indicates they are privately planning a range of actions including: investigations of the Bush administration on a scale larger than Watergate; using the budget as a lever to dictate actual war strategy and leave Iraq; imposing a range of economic measures negatively impacting the Oil and Pharmaceutical industries; and the launching of a "boatload" of expensive social welfare programs while raising the minimum wage.

It appears some Democrats are more willing than others to talk about their plans, assuming they gain control of the House and or the Senate in the mid-term elections. Evidently, among other senior Dems, Rep.Henry Waxman has been talking to the Contra Costa Times.

Democrats will press to get out of Iraq. They'll mount investigations into the Bush administration's record that could rival those of Presidents Nixon in Watergate and Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair.

They'll push a boatload of social-welfare legislation, such as raising the minimum wage, that reflects their pent-up priorities, while blocking the Republican agenda on social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and religion.

Those are some of the top plans that Democrats would pursue if they won power, according to interviews with Democratic lawmakers, strategists, staff aides and lobbyists.

The tone and temper of the Democrats were reflected well by Rep. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, in a conference call in late August. He'll become the panel's chairman if Democrats take the House.

They also appear ready to cut and run from Iraq as soon as possible.

Issue one would be the war.

"If the Democrats take the House back, pressure to find a way to withdraw from Iraq will greatly increase," said Rep. Barney Frank, an outspoken liberal Democrat from Massachusetts.

Democrats also could challenge the administration's war strategy at oversight hearings and by threatening to clamp conditions on war appropriations, although they would take care to do it responsibly, said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House's third-ranking Democrat.

Here's a partial list of other priorities they would like to pursue:

• Tax cuts for top earners and multimillion-dollar inheritances could be scrapped.

• Oil company tax breaks could end.

• Pharmaceutical companies would be pressed to lower domestic prices.

• The Medicare prescription drug benefit could be retooled to help seniors more and benefit the drug industry less.

• Another bill promoting embryonic stem-cell research, such as the one the president vetoed this year, could pass.

• Global warming could drive environmental and energy policy.

• Spending on welfare and affordable housing programs would expand.

Government & Press