Establishment Democrats Selling out their caucus (Again)

The Center for American Progress tipped me off to this one.  There's a news story in the New York Sun that says Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton are actively considering voting against a Bolton filibuster.  I hope this isn't to "seem moderate" and I hope even more that it's not true.  From the article:

The Foreign Relations Committee is set to hold a hearing on the nomination tomorrow, and several Democrats on the panel have voiced their unswerving opposition to Mr. Bolton's nomination.

From New York's senators, however, there has been nothing but silence. Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Clinton voted to block Mr. Bolton's confirmation a year ago, but they have not declared their positions this time around.

Aides to both senators did not respond to repeated inquiries about the Bolton nomination over the last three days.

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The Hill Issues Correction to Schumer/Stem Cell Story

From my email box this morning...

An item in yesterday's Tipsheet incorrectly portrayed Sen. Charles Schumer's (D-N.Y.) opinion of how voters will view the stem-cell issue.

Corrected version:

Schumer says stem-cell bill will help Dems at the polls

Democrats say next week's Senate vote on research into embryonic stem cells -- and a promised White House veto -- will work to their advantage on the campaign trail, particularly in Midwestern states. [corrected story continues...]

Given this correction, I withdraw my disagreement with Schumer on how passage of a stem cell research funding bill might affect this fall's elections.

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Schumer: Passage of Stem-Cell Bill Will Hurt Democrats

Chuck Schumer spoke with The Hill for the newspaper's e-News tip sheet. The topic: how the potential passage of a bill funding stem cell research might affect the Democrats at the polls this fall.

Schumer says stem-cell bill will harm Dems at the polls

Democrats say next week's Senate vote on research into embryonic stem cells -- and a promised White House veto -- will cut into their advantage on the campaign trail, particularly in Midwestern states.

"Our polling data shows this is a very prescient issue in Missouri," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday.

"It's not just in Missouri," he continued, naming Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan as other states where the issue would help Democratic candidates.

I think I understand Schumer's logic. If the Republican Senate doesn't pass a stem cell bill, Democratic Senate candidates will be able to take them to task. However, if a bill does pass the Senate this summer, then the issue will be off of the table -- or at least less salient among voters.

While I think I get where Schumer is going, I'm not certain that I buy into his thinking. The issue of stem cell research is certainly on the table in a number of the closer Senate races this fall, but should President Bush actually veto a funding bill -- his first ever veto -- stem cell research would receive more media and public attention than any point at least since the 2004 election. An increased awareness of the issue could only help the Democrats at the polls, not hurt them.

What's more, it's not clear to me that many endangered Republicans will vote for a bill funding stem cell research. The Hill notes that Senators Mike DeWine of Ohio, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Jim Talent of Missouri -- all of whom are in serious jeopardy this fall -- plan to vote against the stem cell legislation. With their position to funding on the record, rather than just in rhetoric, it will be much easier for their Democratic challengers to hammer them on the hustings.

Perhaps I'm excessively optimistic about this issue, but then again, maybe Senator Schumer is too pessimistic...

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DSCC, Dem 'Regulars' Back Connecticut Primary Winner

And the DSCC caves. Just this Sunday, Chuck Schumer said that the DSCC wouldn't speculate on what they'd do if Lieberman ran as an independent.  Apparently, he came to his good senses, or most likely, heard an earful from donors, and reversed his position.

From what I've seen, the past few days have seen a shift away from Lieberman among 'regulars'.  I can see it in the comment threads here, where former supporters are now talking of the 'Lieberman exception'.  The MyDD community is composed of numbers geeks who live for Chris's awesome posts, but it also has a fair share of 'regulars', the people who make the party work.  That's what I found out at Yearly Kos, when almost everyone raised their hands when asked if the had worked on a campaign.  These are the folks who bleed Democratic blue and want no contention around which Democrat has power, so long as the person has a D next to their name.  There are also a fair number who are more ideological, and seek to move the party to a more progressive direction.

I tend to see these groups as complementary, since I don't think Democrats can take power without progressives in charge of the party.  Oh sure we can back into control of the House and Senate with a conservative Democratic power base, but that won't hold and that won't be able to move real legislation.  That's not a stable state.  I also don't really see the pragmatic problem with criticizing Bob Casey, since it's not like I'm going to shift a lot of votes either way on that race.  I also tend to think that criticism is good for the party, though it always must be done in good faith.  At the same time, I largely agree with and otherwise do respect the views of the regulars, who rightly perceive the extremist threat from the right-wing and believe that the only solution is a Democratic majority, any Democratic majority.  

At any rate, this offends a fair number of the 'regulars' in the comment threads, and for that I apologize.  It's not my intent.  We just have different views on how politics operates.  I've seen a lot of damage done by silence, and by the idea that winning can be done in the absense of an engaged party base.

What's interesting is that regardless of where you fit on the 'regular'/'movement' spectrum, Lieberman is now fair game.  For the movement people, Lieberman's always been an opponent.  For the regulars, Lieberman is now the exception, the Democrat you're allowed to openly diss.  I'm seeing this on the comment threads, but it's also confirmed by Chuck Schumer's and Hillary Clinton's recent actions.  The fight has moved away from a pro-anti Lieberman argument.  That argument is done.

Senator Clinton and Senator Schumer are now openly acceding to the wishes of the party.  It is nearly uniform, that through his actions, Lieberman has lost support among even those people who would ordinarily see him as an independent Democrat who gave years of service to the party.  It's remarkable to see this happen.  Regardless of the outcome of the primary, and to me it seems like Lamont will win, the party is a changed beast.

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What I'm Reading This Morning

Room Eight is a new blog tackling New York politics, tackling conflicts of interest among New York's Congressional delegation.

The IEA has released an interesting report on CO2 emissions and energy efficiency.  Crazy lefties, apparently.

The Washington Note uncovers more neocon front groups , this one called Family Security Matters.  The board is full of all-star wingnuts.

Christopher Hayes has a piece on progressive funding and how it works (and doesn't).

House Armed Services Committee Chairman is a serious War Profiteering Hero, Duncan Hunter.  America owes this hero a debt of gratitude for the debt he's helping us incur.

David Sirota has a good piece pointing out that Chuck Schumer, David Broder, and David Brooks are weirdly out of touch.

Once again, I'm going to point you to this awesome piece in Defensetech on North Korean missile hype. The New York Times editorial board agrees.

And another day, another ridiculous hit piece on Al Gore and global warming. Come on, people.  

What are you reading?

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