Saturday, April 08, 2006

Anything's possible, I guess.

A woman who's smarter than I am makes the case that Congressional Democrats are actually pretty well organized and effective, given their current constraints.

Democrats are famously impossible to pin down on certain issues. Just recently, my junior Senator quipped that "People say that Democrats don't stand for anything, but that's not true. We do stand for anything."

I was mighty glad to see the Democratic opposition to Social Security grind the President dead in his privatization tracks. I was happy to see them call out the current leadership on the NSA business (to the small extent that they did). And it's true that when Democrats do put forth their ideas, that the mainstream press ignores them for the most part (when they collide with the convenient media narrative).

I was also glad to see Sullivan point out the following:
When in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bush quietly suspended the Davis-Bacon Act in order to allow federal contractors to avoid paying the prevailing wage to workers involved in clean-up efforts, Miller led Democrats in handing the president a rare defeat. Appalled that “the President has exploited a national tragedy to cut workers' wages,” Miller unearthed a little-used provision of a 1976 law that allows Congress to countermand the president's authority to suspend laws after a national emergency. While it is usually nearly impossible for Democrats to get bills through the all-powerful House Rules Committee, Miller's maneuver would have bypassed that step and guaranteed an automatic vote by the full House. Bush, faced with a vote he was sure to lose, reversed his earlier action and reinstated Davis-Bacon.
This was a particularly shameful episode in the wake of the Hurricane That Ate Bush's Presidency, and it was quite nice to see Bush eat a nice shit sandwich (served up hot)from a California Democrat over his erstwhile attempt to rob government workers out of a prevailing wage.

The following passage certainly gave me food for thought:
So it is that Democrats can be “hopelessly divided” while voting together 88 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly; just one percentage point lower than the vaunted lock-step Republican caucus. They can be “pathetically ineffective” while dealing a humiliating defeat to the president's biggest domestic policy effort. They can be deemed “weak” and “timid” while setting the terms of the debate for pulling troops out of Iraq.

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