Moe Lane at Red State, a right-wing blog, gets it precisely and depressingly right in “Sweet Jeebus, is there nobody in the Democratic Party who understands national party unity?

Let me put this in very stark terms: there is no Democratic Party in Congress. There are, instead, a bare majority of Congressmen and Senators who have banded together in order to gather power, influence, and money. Which is fine, as far as it goes – except that they are not actually using any of the resources that they are gathering to benefit the groups and causes who worked to put them in power. At best they are operating under terms of enlightened self-interest, albeit a very small-minded version of it: they are keeping their geographical constituents as sweet as is necessary to ensure re-election. And the Republicans know all of this, and will use this knowledge to pass the bills that we feel the country needs to thrive. And all of this is why 2007 was such a horrible legislative year for the progressive movement – and why 2008 will be no better for them.

There are any number of reasons for the pathetic approval ratings for Congress. This is the clearest explanation I’ve seen yet.

The Democrats not only have no collective spine (nor, obviously, much in the way of individual courage), but they have no serious principles for governing. I now suspect they will lose their majority next year.

Why? Because the Democrats’ utter failure to do their job is going to spur more third-party efforts, especially if Hilary Clinton is nominated for president. The likes of Ralph Nader, who remains one of the principal causes of George Bush’s presidency, will have a more convincing argument than in the past that there is not sufficient different between the parties to care which governs. This is dangerous nonsense, of course, but the Democrats are asking for such treatment. Does America deserve such non-leadership? Maybe not, but that’s where we’re heading.

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