Asking William Jefferson to step down from the Ways and Means Committee, which is a very powerful post, is something a leader does. Walking into the hornet's nest that is the CBC, as Pelosi did, will cause her problems, but she believes that it is worth the sacrifice. The Senate side, not so much. I hope that Harry Reid, a brave man and a partisan, learns a thing or two from her about whipping a caucus, because what Glenn writes is simply spot-on.
In other words, there are serious questions about whether Gen. Hayden will comply with the law and whether he believes in the rule of law, so perhaps it's not a good idea to install him as CIA Director. Is there some reason Democrats were afraid to make that clear, straightforward, critically important point?
Yet again, Senate Democrats show that they have no more concern for the rule of law and for the excesses of this administration than Senate Republicans do. Due to their really pitiful passivity, they are every bit as much to blame for the excesses and abuses of the administration as the compliant Republicans are.
I've written before that, at least to me, the principal if not exclusive benefit of the Democrats taking over one or both of the Congressional houses in November is that it will impose some checks and limitations on the behavior of the administration and, specifically, will finally result in meaningful investigations into what has happened in our country and to our government over the last five years. But I have serious doubts about whether that would really happen.
After November, 2006, the presidential elections are not far away. The same paralyzing, stagnating, fatally passive Democratic voices who always counsel against standing up to the administration aren't going anywhere...
Is there any doubt that the likes of Senators Feinstein, Rockefeller, Levin, etc. are going to follow that thinking, as they always do? I don't see how that can be doubted. I think Congressional Democrats will be more cautious and passive, not less so, if they take over one of the Congressional houses in 2006. People who operate from a place of fear and excess caution become even more timid and fearful when they have something to lose. The Democratic Congressional Chairs are going to be desperate not to lose that newfound power, and they will be very, very vulnerable to the whiny whispers of the consultant class that they should not spend their time and energy investigating this administration or vigorously opposing them on national security matters.
John Cole is absolutely right that Democrats have managed to change virtually nothing as a result of the collapse of the Bush presidency. That's because they think the same and behave the same as they did when they were getting pushed around by Bush as a highly popular "war president." As a result, there is no reason to believe they will be any better than they are now (and have been for the past four years) if and when they take over one or both Congressional Houses. One could make a compelling case that they will be even worse.
I don't agree entirely with Glenn's sweeping generalization of Democrats, but he's right about the Senate. The House can be governed to oppose the President, and I believe that Pelosi is serious about making that happen. The Senate doesn't have the will and never has.
On the other hand, I'm hearing bad things about goings on in the House with regards to the net neutrality bill in the Judiciary Committee. Pelosi's been very helpful in fighting for internet freedom there, and all of us on the blogs are going to need to step up later today on the issue.
Get ready for some people-powered politics.