As if I didn't need more reminding that it was a whole lot easier for the populace to influence Congress before the holiday shopping season, the House passed their nefarious dividend and capital gains tax cut extensions yesterday. Now their tax cut bill differs markedly from the Senate's, meaning we could have a hairy reconciliation process. I mean, we can only hope! The more the House and Senate argue, the less damage they can do to the rest of us. But between that House tax cut bill and those cruel budget cuts and that PATRIOT Act reauthorization (not all Mr. Bush was hoping for, but enough to keep Senator Feingold angry), 2005 ain't finishing up well. Of course it could have been a lot worse -- after 1l.2.04 I thought we were going to have estate tax repeal and a flat-rate income tax and Social Security privatization by now -- but the disproportionate presence of far right-wingers in Congress is insufferable.
And here's how Tha Bush Mobb wants that to get worse: as gay marriage was the wedge issue in 2004 ("wedge" as in "the slice of the pie that gives us more than half the pie," as well as its more common meaning), illegal immigration may be the wedge issue in 2006. Remember, people who get uptight about illegal aliens don't automatically vote Republican, but now they might. Mr. Bush himself has been a waffler on immigration issues -- I'll admit that his statement about Americans not having to choose between safety and openness, though it propped up bad economic policy, was quite impressive -- but "showing independence" from Mr. Bush's waffling might be an asset to would-be far-right-wingers in 2006. More on this later.
In any case: remember those Republican campaign slogans? Start repeating them to your friends. I think I'm going to make bumper stickers.