The current iteration of Democrats remind me of an old Eddie Izzard joke about the Scots; “locked in their age-old battle with their arch-enemies, the Scots”. Jon Stewart made a similar comment right after the 2008 election, warning Republicans not to worry because “they’re the democrats!”
The infighting reached a fever-pitch last night. Take your lollipop and go home, Washington Post:
In recent weeks, a widespread belief has taken hold among Democratic House members that they have dutifully gone along with the White House on politically risky issues — including the stimulus plan, the health-care overhaul and climate change — without seeing much, if anything, in return.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi excoriated White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s public comments over the weekend that the House majority was in doubt and that it would take “strong campaigns by Democrats” to avert dramatic losses.
“What the hell do they think we’ve been doing the last 12 months? We’re the ones who have been taking the tough votes,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (N.J.) said in an interview.
“What they wanted to do is separate themselves from us,” Pascrell said Wednesday. He accused the White House of wanting to preemptively pin the blame on lawmakers running poor campaigns should Democrats lose the majority and not on Obama’s own sagging approval ratings.
During the 2008 election, I wondered how long the anti-Bush enthusiasm would carry President Obama, and those legislators who hitched their wagon to his star. Rasmussen and Time both show that the President’s personal and political popularity are uncorrelated. At the moment, RealClearPolitics is calling for a 24 seat Republican swing, with 35 seats left as toss-ups. There’s a laundry list of excuses, from a lack of personality in the House, to a lack of administration involvement, to Republican obstructionism, which is laughable. There hasn’t been a serious filibuster on any bill. The House has routinely passed extreme versions of landmark legislation. They’ve only themselves to blame for this.
As much as I dislike Pelosi’s politics, I will applaud her for sticking to her guns. She was always very clear that she would lead a radically liberal house, and opposition be damned. In a similar vein, if less strident fashion, Michigan congressional candidate Justin Amash penned this letter, advising law-makers to be true to themselves:
Legislators have a duty not to give up their independent judgment to anyone, no matter how trusted. In practice, however, most legislation is the product of group-think with little independent analysis. . . .
Committees are intended to take testimony from interested parties and carefully scrutinize language to avoid unintended consequences. Unfortunately, comprehensive consideration is rare. Consumers are rarely represented; large corporations and special interests who can afford lobbyists are over-represented. Poor legislation, unreasonably tilted in favor of one group or filled with errors, is often passed out of committee.
Nothing in this post should be taken as an endorsement of the Republicans; they’re about to back into a big electoral victory because they’ve been silent, and haven’t totally alienated the small-government movement a second time. The Shrink-Washington wing of the party, such as Paul Ryan, could grab the reigns. Or we could end up with neo-con A-holes who preach like baptists and spend like liberals. But that’s all for the future. The Democrats are rapidly becoming the past.