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"The stakes in politcs are about to get a lot higher"

Snippets from E.J. Donne on current and near-term events:

"The stakes in politics are about to get a lot higher.

The partisan battles in the coming weeks -- on judges, Social Security and the future of Tom DeLay -- are part of a larger struggle in which Republicans are seeking to establish themselves as the dominant party in American politics. Essential to their quest is persuading Democrats, or at least a significant number in their ranks, to accept long-term minority status.

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading figure in both the DeLay and Bush political operations, chose more colorful post-election language to describe the future. "Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans," he told Richard Leiby of The Washington Post. "Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant. But when they've been 'fixed,' then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful."

If you wonder in the coming weeks why Democrats are so reluctant to give ground, remember Norquist's jocular reference to neutering the opposition party. Democrats are neither contented nor cheerful over the prospect of being "fixed." Should that surprise anyone? "
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