Saturday, December 22, 2007


The fashion nowadays is to denounce Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his lack of leadership on FISA "reform" among many other items before the August Body.

Indeed, Harry appears to have been operating as a tool of the Republican minority and the White House ever since they decided it was in their interests to obstruct all Democratic moves through endless invocation of the ancient rite of the filibuster. But Harry doesn't even force them to go through with it. All they have to do is say they will, and there's Harry, johnny-on-the-spot, asking unanimous consent for the 60 vote requirement and pulling bills that won't make it. Greenwald has documented the atrocities over at his place. But you can't stop anywhere in the more-or-less Lefty Blogosphere without encountering one or more calls for Reid's immediate or pending hanging.

Nancy Pelosi faces somewhat the same torrent of abuse and calls for her hanging over her lack of leadership in the House.

Harry was on the NewsHour last night, two days after practically the entire show was given over to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to praise him for getting the Republican agenda enacted in this ostensibly Democratic controlled Senate. Harry, as is his wont, made mush of it.

Harry's key quote was right at the top of his interview:

SEN. HARRY REID: Well, we've been able to accomplish quite a bit, but not very much...

Oh. Well. Never mind then.

He went on to babble incoherently for some minutes as ever patient Jim Lehrer did his nails and plucked his nose hairs. Read it for yourself at the link. Weeping is up to you.

All these calls for Harry's hanging are coming rather late, however. The man has been Democratic "Leader" in the Senate since Tom Daschle, another Wild-West Firecracker, lost his seat to the reprehensible John Thune in 2004. Just discovering Harry is a little punch drunk, are we? Hmm? Anyone who was paying attention knew it a long time ago.

Widely noted these days is the fact that on the central issues of Iraq and Giving the White House Anything It Wants, the current Democratic Leadership in the House and Senate (much more so in the Senate, but the House is not exactly slacking) is more willing to bend over and beg than even the Republicans were when they were in charge.

There are more troops in Iraq, war spending is far more costly, corruption is more rampant than ever, and human and constitutional rights are far more likely to be trampled with a Democratic Congress than was the case under Republican control (which weren't no picnic.)

There is a Problem. You bet.

And Harry isn't alone.

The Problem in the Senate is about 20-25 BlueDog/BushDog Democratic Senators who will almost always vote the White House Line when push comes to shove. This means that in effect, the Republicans have 70 votes for just about anything they really want passed, and the Democrats can't get more than 50 for what they want. Ergo, the Republican agenda is either enacted or the Democratic agenda is thwarted.

Is this due to Harry's incomparably bad Leadership, or is it something else?

We keep hearing calls for More and Better Dems -- which is all well and good, but...

I argue that Democrats and the bodies they serve in have institutional problems that can't be solved simply by electing more Democrats.

More about this later.


A little Amor Gitano to get your blood moving...