Down, down, down…

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Uh, oh. Sounds like the nativists are getting restless

Almost three months into President Bush’s second term, a raft of economic and social issues — Social Security, immigration, gay marriage and the recent national debate over Terri Schiavo — is splintering the Republican base.

After winning re-election on the strength of support from nine in 10 Republican voters, the president is seeing significant chunks of that base balk at major initiatives, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. One-third of Republicans say Democrats in Congress should prevent Mr. Bush and party leaders from “going too far in pushing their agenda,” and 41% oppose eliminating filibusters against Mr. Bush’s judicial nominees — the “nuclear option” that Senate Republican leaders are considering.

Do note, too, that the country hasn’t even begun to talk about the biggest hot-button issue of them all: immigration. Fortunately—insofar as one say “fortunately” here—the Minutemen loons patrolling the Southern border should bring this topic to the fore real soon.

That said, there’s a danger for Democrats here too. The popular consensus seems to be that the Democrats’ main function at this point is to check the considerable excesses of the Republican majority. That bodes well for obstructionism. It also bodes well for those who want to defeat the “nuclear option” and preserve the filibuster. (Although we’ve noted the case here that in the long run, stripping away the filibuster would benefit the progressive movement.) It does not, however, bode well for the minority party’s long-term electoral prospects. What are they going to say in 2006, “Please, please vote for us, we need a strengthened minority or we’ll never be able to stop the Republicans from going too far”? No, they would sound pathetic, and they would get slaughtered. Americans may love gridlock and divided government, but that’s not a compelling campaign message, and no one ever won an election by calling attention to his or her finger stuck in the dike.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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