Thoughts for a Saturday
by Matt Stoller, Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 04:33:00 PM EDT
I've learned three things from watching the Casey debate. Casey will support a nuclear strike on Iran, wants to 'fix' Social Security, and feels that civility is the problem in the debate over abortion. He also wants a higher minimum wage.
Stirling is blogging from China.
And Ian Welsh has an interesting take on the Pelosi-Reid analysis.
What's Harry Reid done for you lately? Was he there on Roberts? What about Alito? Could he bothered to even rally enough Dems to come close to a filibuster on the man who pioneered Presidential signing statements and who has perjured himself in front of Congress in the past? (Of course, since Reid is a pro-life conservative who thinks forced child birth is wonderful I wouldn't expect him to try and stop Alito because women could lose the right to safe, legal abortions.)
Let me tell you the advice I'd give Nancy Pelosi - do one spectacular piece of theater for the netroots, once, like Reid, and you you can cruise on that and betray them when it really matters, and they'll suck it up and kiss your butt. I'm guessing one good piece of theater is probably good for a year or so of free passes on real issues. Give them their theater, then sell them down the river.
Nancy Pelosi seems to be some sort of whipping girl for the Progressive blogosphere these last few months. I'll tell you this - she isn't perfect, but she is, actually, a liberal, not a conservative. She did, actually, support Murtha when it mattered. She has increased caucus discipline immensely and forced House Republicans to keep sessions open past midnight, twisting arms, to pass bills. She needs to learn theater, I agree, but I'm tired of the netroots puckering up for Reid and bitch-slapping Pelosi when, objectively, Reid has betrayed progressive principles in far more serious ways.
Reid's a fighter. I respect him as a person. But if you're a progressive or a liberal and you think Reid is in your corner, you have been played.
Not sure I agree with everything, but I am gaining a bit of respect for Pelosi as someone who maintains caucus cohesion and forces Republicans into awkward positions. That said, she isn't very good at communications, she doesn't really move the caucus to her, and her management style is opaque. Ian is right about Reid. He isn't really leading. For instance, he has been nowhere on censure, which at this point is just weird. The activist energy on behalf of censure had to go somewhere, and if you don't support censure you have to provide an alternative channel.
Now, both leaders have less leverage to use on wayward members than Republicans do, which makes leadership more difficult. But in my mind, the honeymoon for Reid is ending. The Bankruptcy Bill was bad, but the lack of leadership on censure is too abrupt not to note.