Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Have the Dems Lost Their Way, Already?

Perhaps it's too early to sign the death certificate for the Democratic Congress that has not even been sworn in yet, but one can't ignore the early stumbling of the party leadership.

Over the next few months, comparisons are sure to take place - they certainly will here - between the Republican Revolution of 1994 and the current Democratic take-over.

We can all fondly remember 1994 and 1995 when the GOP swept into power on the strength of the Contract with America. Behind the leadership of Newt Gingrich, the Republicans promised to bring all of the issues listed in the Contract to the House floor within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. While not all underwent a final vote within those 100 days, debate did begin on each of the Contract points. Boy, how far we've come (I'm talking about the Republicans here).

Now let's take a look at the first days following the Dems impressive victory at the polls. As expected, divisions are already evident between the leadership - headed by ultra-liberal Nancy Pelosi and her band of liberal House veterans - and the rank-and-file, many that were elected as moderates or conservatives.

(from St. Pete Times) Last week, when the emancipated Democrats should have been celebrating the ascension of the first female speaker of the House, their leaders were caught in bitter, public fight over the No. 2 spot, pitting moderates against liberals.

(on Rangel) Just two weeks after winning control of Congress, the party's message of helping the middle class and restoring accountability has been obscured by infighting and, this weekend, statements by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., incoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, that he aims to restore the draft.

At a news conference Monday, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader-elect Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said they don't support the draft and won't hold a vote. The Pentagon, President Bush and Senate leaders also oppose it, so the chances of it happening are nil.

Pelosi explained that Rangel "has long held this position" and "it's not about a draft. It's about shared sacrifice in our country."

(on leader race) Rangel's comments came a few days after Pelosi tried to use her clout to get Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a war opponent, elected as her majority leader, the No. 2 position. Hoyer, a moderate, won in a battle that pitted liberals against moderates. That, rather than Pelosi's nomination as the first female House speaker, dominated the news.

Soon, Pelosi also must resolve who becomes head of the House Intelligence Committee. The senior Democrat, Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar, has the support of the Congressional Black Caucus; moderates oppose him because of his rocky tenure as a federal judge in the 1980s.

OK, so the SP Times isn't that clear - that should read Alcee Hastings, unindicted co-conspirator, that was impeached and removed from the bench. Pelosi and others Dem leaders - those that now support his bid to control Ways and Means - voted to remove Hastings. (Good job Allah)

(back to SP Times) Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, who heads a group of conservatives called the Blue Dogs, said House leaders should focus on the agenda they vow to address when Democrats officially gain control in January, including cutting interest rates for college loans and allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.

Boyd, a volunteer infantryman in Vietnam, opposes the draft.

"I think we've got enough problems to work on without having that debate at this point in time," he said.

With all the dissension already at work within their party, Dems may allow Republicans to focus on getting back on course while they destroy themselves from within. One can only hope.

No comments: