Archive for the 'Democratic' category

My kingdom for a leader.

Several days ago, Senator (and longshot Presidential candidate) Christopher Dodd (D-CT) made some news by promising to do whatever he could to block any legislation that would retroactively grant immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with President Bush's warrentless wiretapping program. He started off by placing a hold on the bill - a procedural move that would normally block the legislation from being voted on. After hearing that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to move the bill to the floor despite the hold, Dodd is now promising to go to the floor of the Senate and filibuster the bill if necessary.

That was late last week. Until yesterday, the only thing heard on this issue from the Clinton and Obama campaigns was the chirp of crickets. Yesterday, five days after Dodd's announcement (a period of time that bears an uncanny resemblance to the time needed to conduct focus groups or polls on the issue), the two camps both released statements outlining their candidate's position on the bill and the threatened filibuster.

From the Obama campaign:

"Senator Obama has serious concerns about many provisions in this bill, especially the provision on giving retroactive immunity to the telephone companies. He is hopeful that this bill can be improved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it."

From Clinton, in response to a question at a press availability:

"I am troubled by the concerns that have been raised by the recent legislation reported out of the Intelligence Committee. I haven't seen it so I can't express an opinion about it. But I don't trust the Bush Administration with our civil rights and liberties. So I'm going to study it very hard. As matters stand now, I could not support it and I would support a filibuster absent additional information coming forward that would convince me differently."

Personally, I liked the chirping crickets better. They've got more character than either statement - or, for that matter, than both combined. I don't think they could have come up with anything more milquetoasty if they tried - and they probably did. Their "support" for the filibuster is so lukewarm it's at room temperature.

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Pelosi and the difference between "being a leader" and "leading."

Oct 11 2007 Published by under 2008, Congressional, Democratic, Elections, Politics

It looks like Nancy Pelosi might be getting just a wee bit frustrated with the Democratic base. It also looks like she's got a lack of understanding of the proper relationship between politicians and the people that sorely needs correcting. At a recent press lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, she said this:

Activists who want to target congressional Democrats for lack of action on the war are misguided, the speaker argued. "I think it is a waste of time for them to go after Democratic members. They ought to just persuade Republican members who are representing areas that are opposed to the war," she said. "We said we would change the debate; we would fight to end the war. We never said we had the veto pen or the signature pen."

According to the Washington Post, she also said something about the difference between her role and the role of the base - at least as she sees it:

"They are advocates," she said. "We are leaders."

That is true, I suppose. Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid, and the rest of their gang are the leaders in Congress. Unfortunately, there's a big difference between being designated as a "leader" and leading. One requires determination, effort, and action. The other requires nothing more than the occupation of space and the consumption of time.

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