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Preview: Comments on A Bunch of Hot Air: What Democratic Congress?

Comments on A Bunch of Hot Air: What Democratic Congress?





Updated: 2014-10-16T18:19:23.703-07:00

 



Interesting discussion. I just now saw it and it'...

2007-10-01T09:25:00.000-07:00

Interesting discussion. I just now saw it and it's already 10-1.

I've said this on a couple of other blogs so I guess I'll say it here too. Pelosi's lack of leadership skills is a macro problem for the House of Representatives. Her "taking impeachment off the table" was the weakest political manuever of the 21st century so far. Pelosi gave up the impeachment option which was 50% of her power and got absolutely nothing in return. Add to that her failure to commit to an aggressive Iraq exit strategy, her defeatist attitude and her poor speaking skills, and it's no wonder she cannot build consensus in the House nor can she speak convincingly to the American people. Furthermore, this isn't a learning curve problem, this lady just ain't got it. She's not a leader.

Harry Reid is no shining star either but he doesn't have the votes in the Senate to look as bad as Pelosi does, at least for the time being.

I'm just not as certain about 2008 as x4mr is. In the local races, the Republicans certainly have an opportunity (handed to them by weak Democrats) to re-invent themselves and prevail in districts where they have an advantage. There are many ways to do this and I think it will be interesting to see how many of them actually understand their predicament.

I agree with sirocco about Hillary. It's a long way from a done deal.



Framer,Some really interesting points.I did take o...

2007-09-28T08:47:00.000-07:00

Framer,

Some really interesting points.

I did take off the word verification ... we'll see if the spam comes. If it does, I can turn it back on.

I agree no one is happy with the manner Pelosi or Reid have led their respective legislative bodies, and I agree if the low approval ratings continue into next summer it's going to be an issue.

Of course, the way to address that is by actively doing more to oppose the administration's policies, particularly in Iraq. They may not be able to actually change anything (filibusters and vetoes getting in the way), but it's important they be seen to be trying, and force the Republicans/administration to be seen as obstructing.

I am not as convinced as I was a month ago of the inevitability of Clinton being the nominee (I find the fund raising argument compelling), but even if she is I think the "drag" Republicans keep hoping she will be is over-rated. Her "negatives" are as negative as they will ever be, and have (I believe) been trending downward.

However, I agree with your analysis vis-a-vis the "weak" Republicans having already been ousted. Even in the absolute best environment the Dems could hope for next year, I think 15 seats would be the most they could dream to pickup. Actually, a substantial (4+ seats) gain in the Senate seems more likely in an environment like that.



If you drop word verification, you will get spam i...

2007-09-27T22:24:00.000-07:00

If you drop word verification, you will get spam in a couple of weeks. At least that was my sad experience.

I think that Republican approval in congress are Republicans pleased about Republican performance, but probably not in the areas you would expect. I would assume that the largest two contributors were the stern handling of Senator Craig and in a strange way, the MoveOn Petraeus ad. Republicans expressing disgust about the ad have driven up their favorables (thus the condemnation votes in the Senate and House by Democrats as well to minimize the damage.) They see polling that we don't.

Immigration reform perhaps has a bit to do with it, but I suspect that individual Legislators are getting credit for that rather than the Republican caucus as a whole. I don't think any of the Patriot Act issues are even registering.

The larger truth is that it is far easier to look better when you are not in charge, and only need to worry about foiling the other side. Should Republicans go all anti-earmark all the time, especially if it means throwing some of their own under the bus, they will make tremendous gains. That message doesn't always play well, but I believe it is very ripe, especially as the Democratic leadership failed miserably on their promises in this area.

That leadership is another part of the problem. Pelosi and Reid make far better snipers than leaders. Can anyone honestly say they have been happy with the performance by either? Its damn hard to lead effectively, and neither are ready for prime time.

The senate will be tough because of the number of seats up for Republicans. A 30-40 seat Democratic pickup in the house is a pipe dream, however (I haven't seen this here, but I have elsewhere). Most of the weak Republicans were culled last year, and Hillary will harm a lot of localized races that might otherwise been close Dem pickups (or holds).

In any case the Congressional approval rating is significant, and is not something that can be blithely explained away. There is still a lot of time to go by, but if this still holds by the end of next summer, it will be a tremendous problem for the Democrats.



Sirocco,You point to the interesting game theory o...

2007-09-25T20:46:00.000-07:00

Sirocco,

You point to the interesting game theory of our current situation.

2008 is everything. That's the game being played. The utility curve each side seeks to maximize is the probability of winning the White House and each side of the Congress. What strategies maximize the expected value?

It looks bad for the GOP. Odds of retaking the House are bleak, and although the edge is razor thin in the Senate, damaging resignations weaken their chances, and the WH is a crap shoot.

I think the disapproval of Congress is misleading. Yeah, people are furious that the Democrats haven't turned things around regarding Iraq, but Democrats can craft a credible frame for this. It goes like this:

The GOP and WH got us into this mess (no argument). We want out of it, but with obstinate R WH and weak majorities, we didn't have the number to implement your will.

Give us the WH and numbers, and we can do what you want.

It's simple, neat, believable and maybe even true, and it can be said in 30 seconds.

Voting to withdraw funds? Force a withdrawal with W still in office? Messy, and possible mishaps abound. As cynical as it sounds, my calculations say to leave Bush and the GOP on the hook.

Moving away from Iraq, I agree they should stick it to him/them in certain areas. SCHIP is a no brainer. Let him veto it. As you say, force them to fight BAD battles.

Republicans filibustering AGAINST habeas corpus? I cannot believe they didn't pounce and buy cameras.

By the way, I turned off the "word verification" function that makes people type in the letters. It's annoying. Do what you want, but I would recommend you shut it off until you encounter a reason to implement it.

It makes submitting comments easier, and at least for awhile, like my place, I don't think the drop in security will cause you any grief.