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Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Rambling: Turn Back the Clock to 1993
Amazing few days. I was eager to watch how Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were going to assert themselves into trying to control Congress and the last few days have made it only more interesting.
America votes to turnover Congress because they want change. The challenge to Pelosi and Reid is going to be to show America that the Dems could set aside partisanship, govern, and govern from the middle. One of the challenges for Reid and Pelosi is going to try to pass significant bipartisan legislation with as little dissension as possible and put the onus on the President to sign it - sign or veto the D's chalk up a win. In fact, it might bode better for them in 2008 if the President vetoes a number of bills and shows America the he and the GOP are the problem with Washington and not the Dems.
There are too many old liberal dinosaurs who have been in office for decades and have waited for the Dems to retake Congress so that they can chair a committee, or in some cases return to chair a committee. Dem rules call for chairs to be based on seniority. Most get seniority because they win and hold seats for incredibly safe, super Dem or liberal majority districts. They aren't beholden to the middle or conservative D's. Many of the new committee chairs have already discussed dusting off and taking up pre-1994 agendas. And they've discussed using oversight to go after big business - oil, pharmaceuticals, and "big business" are getting ready to take a beating.
Look at some of the old liberal lineup -
House: Obey, Approps; George Miller, Educ; Barney Frank, Fin Services; Waxman, Gov't Reform; Hastings, Intel; Lantos, Int'l Rel; Conyers, Judiciary; Slaughter, Rules; Velazquez, Small Business; Oberstar, T&I; Rangel, W&M's.
Senate: Byrd, Approps; Levin, Armed Services; Dodd, Banking; Boxer, Environment; Biden, For Rel; Kennedy, Health Educ & Labor; Rockefeller, Intel; Leahy, Judiciary; Feinstein, Rules;
The only somewhat sensible things that were said by D leaders after Tuesday was that that any new spending was going to have to be funded by cuts to other spending or from eliminating tax cuts (??). Rangel said he wouldn't touch the middle class tax cuts. Again, oil, pharmaceuticals, and "big business" are getting ready to take a beating.
The odds are against Reid and Pelosi controlling the members and moving the houses to the middle with a middle agenda. Their committee chairs aren't from middle America and aren't beholden to them. The D's don't have a "class of '04-like class of '06" that can demand change within the party.
And it is already getting worse. Pelosi inserts herself into the race for Majority Leader. Hillary says that universal healthcare may be considered. Unions, enviros, liberals, 'new' Dems, are all taking credit for the win and are already in Washington demanding that their issues be priorities.
It will be 1993 all over again. Conservatives should be afraid, yet at the same time opportunistic. It won't take long for America to understand what the Dems in Congress stand for. Will the Republicans and conservatives be able to capitalize? Will they have a clear agenda? I'm not excited about Guiliani or McCain?
Will their be a decent candidate that can articulate a clear path for the future and have the backbone to implement it?
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