Years from now when we’re looking back at the politics of this decade I hope we will be able to point to this week as the turning point in what had been a familiar congressional game of empty threats and paper tigers.  The US House finally did what Harry Reid and his Senate couldn’t muster the courage to do – they stood up to Bush.  What terrible tragedy befell them for their unthinkable insolence?  They won.

Despite all the laughable posturing and despicable fearmongering that we’ve come to expect from this administration, not to mention the overinflated importance of a bill that clearly had little to do with protecting us and much to do with administrative ass-covering, the House stood on principle and refused to be browbeaten into submission yet again.  It’s far too early to declare that fundamental change is at last underway, but it’s a heartening sign of the potential of things to come.

The progressive wing of the Democratic party, with which I am allied because they appear to be the only political contituency left that cares about the Constitution and the rule of law, is making great inroads into ousting old-school Democrat incumbents and replacing them with fresh progressive faces – Donna Edwards in Maryland’s 4th being the most recent example.

Lots of interesting things going on that lend themselves to a hopeful attitude.  The pragmatist in me says “just wait, the Dems will bork it up like they always do” but the long-absent and very well rested optimist in me believes we’re in a fundamental shift right now that will become more apparent as the weeks go by.

I’ll be interested in seeing the eventual analyses of this period, specifically the conditions that led to such change.  Was it Bush fatigue, Obama’s emergence, global warming, some combination of those and other causes?

Who knows.  What matters most right now is that little light at the end of the tunnel.

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