Theater of Cruelty

Up from the trench

The Democrats promise new courses and cross-political cooperation after the election victory. By Henning André Søgaard, Democratic Election, Sheraton Hotel, Manhattan, New York, USA.


[election vigil] New Time was present when New York's Democratic delegates toasted to victory on Tuesday night. With a majority in the House of Representatives, they are on their way back to local and national positions of power, after twelve years in the valley of the shadows.

Superstar and expected presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton looked forward to the extreme polarization that has characterized American politics in recent years, in her thank-you speech on election watch.

"We must work together, otherwise we can not bring the United States further into the 21st century," she thundered to thunderous applause from hundreds of supporters.

She referred to the Bush administration's "stubborn course" policy in Iraq, which has so far led to nearly 3000 killed soldiers, most Americans. But is cross-political cooperation a real opportunity in today's political climate, even after this week's change of power?

Democratic political advisers Ny Tid was in contact with during the election vigil were not overwhelmingly optimistic. They pointed out that ever since he came to power, President George W. Bush has only dealt with his own arch-conservative base, without consulting other political wings. But at the same time, they admitted that the change of power could change Washington's political dynamics regarding the unpopular war in Iraq.

More than 40 percent of independent and moderate voters, including many former Republicans, cited Iraq as the primary reason for their vote. This may impose a course change that until now has been unthinkable. The question then becomes whether power-hungry Democrats looking forward to the 2008 presidential election will be willing to compromise.

In that case, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who ran for election on more cooperation, must convince colleagues that this is necessary. After the election victory as the first female majority leader in the House of Representatives, she declared that "people have had enough of trench politics, and the Democrats' victory means the beginning of more cooperation, and less polarization."

A commission of inquiry led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Democrat Lee H. Hamilton is currently preparing a report aimed at recommending a new course in Iraq. In response, Democrats in Congress have made it clear that they do not intend to cut funding for the Iraq war. This may indicate that the new Congressional room for action in relation to the change in Iraq will lie in the possibility of investigating what went wrong. Then we talk about open hearings, which do not

has taken place as long as Republicans have had a majority.

The president's team has signaled that they will work with Democrats on a cross-national national agenda to review other social issues, including national health insurance schemes, something Pelosi has said she will put high on her agenda.

Regardless, the war in Iraq will remain the most pressing issue of the future. Bush's advisers have for a long time indirectly admitted their hopes that American soldiers would be on their way home when the US population went to the urns this fall.

Instead, 150.000 are still there. If this does not change quickly, it could mean two turbulent years in American politics, no matter how cooperative Pelosi turns out to be.

When Ny Tid went to press, it was still uncertain who would get the majority in the Senate.

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