E.J. Dionne has a great piece up today about the Democrats problem in Congress.
Democrats in Congress are discovering what it’s like to live in the worst of all possible worlds. They are condemned for selling out to President Bush and condemned for failing to make compromises aimed at getting things done.
Democrats complain that this is unfair, and, in some sense, it is. But who said that politics was fair?
Over the short run, Democratic congressional leaders can count on little support from their party’s presidential candidates, particularly Barack Obama and John Edwards. Both have decided their best way of going after front-runner Hillary Clinton– who has been in Washington since her husband’s election as president in 1992 — is to criticize politics as usual.
The ending sums it all up:
Congressional Democrats are caught between two contradictory desires. One part of the electorate wants them to be practical dealmakers, another wants them to live up to the standard Obama set in the peroration of his Iowa speech when he praised those who “stood up . . . when it was risky, stood up when it was hard, stood up when it wasn’t popular.” Is there a handbook somewhere on how to be a courageous dealmaker? Pelosi and Reid would love to read it.
I agree that it is a hard time to be a Democrat, but it is also a hard time to be a politician in general. This country is widely divided, but that division is moving in the favor of our side. The public is sick of the Iraq war, sick of our healthcare problems and scared to death of our economic future.
I have been very hard on Pelosi and Reid lately, and they deserve it. It’s amazing some of the emails I get from Democrats telling me I need to stop complaining. Well I refuse to.
Pelosi and Reid refuse to fight for anything. Take the Senate. Everytime the Republican threaten a filibuster, Harry gives in. Why not make the party that cried over a five day work week stand up and fight to block legislation they don’t like? The American public, as a whole, doesn’t know that the Republicans block all this legislation. Instead they view it as incompetence on the leadership. Sure it does help some to let things go through and Bush vetoing them. Then we can label Bush as the obstructionist, but the Democrats aren’t running against Bush next year.
Instead Harry needs to force the Republicans to filibuster every single time. The media loves filibusters, and the news networks would be riddled with pictures of the fold-out cots being wheeled in for every filibuster. Then the American public would know that the Republicans are the obstructionists, instead of just the political junkies understanding that fact.
Even though a lot of Democrats are fed up by the status-quo of their party, it is not a problem unique to them. Republicans are fed up also. They have been living through broken promises for years. The Republicans promise to downsize government, yet it grew at historic rates under their leadership. They have promised to get rid of abortion, yet that is still around. These are promises that have been broken to the Republican base for decades now.
Over all it isn’t that people are fed up with one particular party – they are fed up with Washington. We really need a purging of Capital Hill and a flood of new blood coming in on both sides of the aisle. We need politicians who stand up for their beliefs, instead of legislating for the next election. We need to return this to being a government by the people, for the people.