Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Democratic Congress So Far

Oh yeah, the really cool thing is, they haven't even been sworn in as the majority yet. Think the country was ready for a change?

So, we all know that, the day after the elections, Rumsfeld was out as Secretary of Defense, and hopefully the soon to be confirmed Mr. Gates is a conservative member of the reality based community, a huge step in the right direction for this country. As I've said before, I think this is going to be a very good thing.

Second, I submit a hearty Thank You to ultra-Northern Progressive Sen. Feingold, for announcing that he will not run for President in 2008. I don't like Senators running for President, and this has nothing to do with their success rates. They have a huge responsibility to their posts in the legislature, and Presidential campaigns destroy their Senatorial credibility (IMHO). Also, Feingold as an almost undefeatable progressive Senator is far more valuable to the nation, even on issues where I disagree with him, in the legislature than mounting a distracting fight for the Presidential nomination. (Now, if only She would announce that she will not run for the Presidency in 2008...)

Third, I'd rather Maryland Representative Hoyer become Majority leader than Jack Murtha. Only part of this is that the dude is from Maryland, and that's almost considered a Southern state. But Rep. Murtha is not the dude I want to publicly speak for the party from an actual position, because even when he makes good points, I don't like the way he makes them. I'm very tired of lightning rods filling every leadership role. I saw what our side was able to do with Tom DeLay (and, truthfully, what Tom DeLay was able to do to himself), and I don't want that going on. I mean, who's the current Republican Majority Leader until January? When's the last time you saw him on the news actin' up? I want someone who's going to organize and pass legislation, not someone who likes to go on TV and yell, is what I'm sayin.

Fourth, Pelosi is being awful shrewd, and is talking an excellent game so far. The right wing shrill machines will howl about how liberal she is all they want, if Americans see her holding out a hand to the other side to get stuff done, it is the shrill machines who will get egg on their faces. I hope she walks the walk she's talkin about.

This also sounds like a really smart divide and conquer plan, as the schism war between the really real conservatives and the big government Bushitistas has already opened up cracks. If the door to get legislation amended and passed remains open, especially with a Democratic focus primarily on effective government and Congressional oversight instead of partisan retribution for the past decade, some real work may get done - and quickly - without falling into the same holes of hackery that led to the Republican Congressional maturity issues (that consequently led to the GOP's electoral defeat last Tuesday). I think that's one thing the real conservatives and the variety of Democrats are really looking to achieve at this point.

This is some pretty cool stuff to hear about, and like I said up front, they haven't even been sworn in yet...


patsbrother said...

I have a question and some observations regarding your severe distaste for presidential hopefuls rising out of the Senate ranks.

The question: are you opposed to all those holding high office from running for President?

Observations: because I think governors, as the sole executive head of a State, have more on their individual plates - and far more responsibility - than any one lone Senator (what with there being 100 of them holding down the fort, and all).

Really, your more-important-things-to-do rubric (with which I do not fundamentally disagree) would leave only those outside of office, Representatives (as they arguably have less responsibility than a Senator), and the Vice President (who's only real duty aside from breaking ties is to fill a presidential vacancy anyway).

So, again: does this apply only to senators?

patsbrother said...

Question 2: And would a sitting President's participation in an active campaign distract from the huge responsibility of being the chief executive of the nation, as that responsibility is far greater than a senator's in addition to being ongoing and detached from legislative sessions?

Dante said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dante said...

Pelosi is being awful shrewd. It is amusing though how all that talk of Pelosi not being a lock for speaker was just that (and we all knew it, even those who were taking that position). I think she knows she has to act a bit differently as Speaker than she did when she was only her district's representative and so far she's doing that. She could gain a lot of points for her party in general by keeping that up.

The Democrats have a good shot of cementing a majority right now but they are in a tough position. The people are expecting them to accomplish things but nobody's been all too specific on what exactly they're supposed to accomplish.

Iraq is a given but they've been kind of nebulous about what exactly should be done. Apparently they have a plan so cool that they have to wait for us to elect them to tell us what that plan is. That to me seems about as good as a movie that's so good it went straight to video (like say "Michael Jackson's Moonwalker"). Then again, if the "Moonwalker" plan wins the election, what does that say about the plan currently in place? It's obviously no "Caddychack." It's probably more along the lines of "Glitter" or "Dream a Little Dream 2."

But what else are they planning on doing? Minimum wage and illegal immigration will almost certainly be addressed but that's not whole lot of agenda for 2 years. Seems like Pelosi was pushing a 100 day agenda but it was kind of hard to hear since she was in hiding leading up to the elections and I'm pretty sure Democrats didn't bother campaigning in Georgia anyways. Anyone have a link on that 100 day thing? What do they plan to do for the other 631 days? They're best strategy is probably to push a populist agenda that will appeal to 80% or so of voters to build their base for the 08 Presidential elections but I've never been a big fan of cowering in fear of the center so I wouldn't blame them for going another direction if they think they can pull it off.

Patrick Armstrong said...

No, I am not opposed to those in high office running for President. But I think you should only be able to campaign for and hold one office at a time, and I don't like it when folks run for two offices at once, which Senators have a significant advantage in doing.

Representatives have to run every two years, meaning if a Rep wanted to become President, they'd switch his campaign from his district to the national stage. They could still run the two campaigns, but it would be tougher on a Rep, because their challenger would have much more access to the home district population. Governors have different responsibilites, but also executive bureaucracies.

Senators can effectively run for President and Senate twice each in one term. They also have inordinant power to obstruct legislation at the national level.

That may be one reason Senators so rarely become President since the Kennedy win: they have to hedge. I prefer the John Edwards, Bill Frist approach: either retire before a run for another office (Frist), or run for only one office in an election (Edwards).

But these are more proceedural matters of opinion, not sweeping ideological ones. These are actions I would prefer to see, just like I'd prefer to earn $35 an hour starting tomorrow. (Doesn't mean its going to happen.)