When Democrats took control of Congress in January, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to jointly push an ambitious agenda to counter 12 years of Republican control.
Now, as Congress struggles to adjourn for Christmas, relations between House Democrats and their colleagues in the Senate have devolved into finger-pointing.
Essentially, what we have is the classic blame game that usually comes with failure. Many Americans have learned that by projecting blame, they can get sympathy and respect in the same paragraph (and often, the same sentence). This group of Congressional Democrats are no different.
One simply must laugh at this prime dictionary example of a debacle. The House blames the Senate, the Senate blames the House, instead of blaming the White House.
As we note the current dissatisfaction with both houses (as reflected in poll numbers), we see that Americans may be ready to make some real changes in Congress, next time. The time sure is right. But the key will be getting some brave souls that are willing to mount a grass roots effort, for the purpose of unseating a rich and powerful incumbent. In solid blue or red districts and/or states, it may even require a rogue member of the party firmly entrenched in power (in that district) to challenge the career politician, representing them.
If the member that has taken their constituency for granted for too long (be he/she Democrat or Republican), has been a powerful machine operator for too long, he/she may not be able to stand the wrath of the many that feel let down and disenfranchised, by their dismal performance, thus far.
Under this kind of scenario, a Nancy Pelosi could be defeated by Cindy Sheehan in the primary, and be out of a job (just that quick). That's an example of an extremely left-leaning district and would be due to the perception that Pelosi is not far enough to the left, for their tastes. . Other situations may be a little more complicated, in that the officeholder may be too extreme (be they left or right). Still, other situations may involve an outright switch in parties. This will be true most notably)( in battleground areas.
But whatever scenario plays out, there needs to be some real soul searching by voters. Last election the evil/sellout (depending on your affiliation) GOP leaders lost a lot of ground and control, because the voters were not happy with their representation. They saw how ineffective and corrupt the GOP had become and voted to make a change.
Now, the same pendulum appears to be swinging backward for the very same reasons. The dissatisfaction with this Congress is much more pronounced than when the GOP was in control. This bunch has hit rock bottom, and only after a year in office. It may very well leave a sour taste in the mouths of independents, who in many cases, swing elections.
Another political strategy issue will be unfolding soon. The real question to be asking right now will be looked at more closely, as the voters pick the nominees. Will the Democratic candidates distance themselves from the Democratic Congressional leadership? (In the primaries or the general election?) With the numbers Congress is pulling in right now, it would be a very risky move on their part. But one must remember that politicians get comfy very easily, when they have a big campaign war chest.
I am sure we'll learn the answers to these questions, soon enough. I am equally sure, there's enough blame to go around, but much of it will be sorely misplaced in the external fields of energy. I cannot imagine that arrogant and corrupt politicians will ever look inward, to see where the source of the failure comes from. Meanwhile, the blame game continues unimpeded and the Democrats may be showing signs of weakness, which will ultimately result in their own self-destruction (long before the general election of 08 rolls around).
All of this may come long before the first inter-party shot is fired. And that means it's going to be a miserable holiday season for the Democrats.
Larry Sabato represents the conventional wisdom in objective political analysis. He is a smart man and I often agree with him, in his analysis. Here is his latest essay, hot and fresh off of the press.
Normally, I would defer to the good doctor, because of his many years of studying (and experience dealing with all things Washington). But after seeing what could be done in a grass roots movement in Indianapolis this past November, I have to wonder if a lot of people haven't taken some notice of the upset and how it was done. I know one thing for sure, the posts I did on this particular election netted PYY the most hits ever, from all over the country (and they are still getting hit).
In case you are not a regular reader and missed them, take a look at any one of these to get an idea. Start with the earliest and work your way back and see how the entire thing unfolded in the final days. If anyone is interested in mounting this kind of anti-incumbency campaign, it's going to be a long shot. But, this shows it can be done, if the mood is right and the work is done.