Send in the Clowns
Thursday, August 31, 2006 :::
The Wall Street Journal asks what would the House be like under a restored Democratic majority? After going through some of the highlights of possible committee chairmen -- John Dingell, John Conyers, Charlie Rangel, David Obey and others, their answer is:
The House is only one half of Capitol Hill, and Republicans stand a better chance of holding the Senate, albeit with some losses there too. Mr. Bush will also retain his veto power, and he would finally have to use it. So the amount of liberal legislation that actually became law might not be all that extensive. But the national debate would nonetheless shift notably left. Voters looking to send a message to Republicans this fall may be surprised at their return mail from Washington.
I'm not so sure. Recall that Ronald Reagan was able to manage a similar congressional split quite effectively, though to be fair, the ranks of conservative Democrats aren't what they used to be.
And while it is somewhat chilling to think of John Conyers presiding over anything more important than a birthday party (under close supervision), in some ways, he might be an improvement over the current Judiciary Chairman, Jim "Don't Bother Me During My Free Time" Sensenbrenner.
And as for David Obey at Appropriations...well, let us not forget that appropriators are a party unto themselves within Congress. Merely switching the nameplates on the center chair will probably generate only a marginal difference in how the Cardinals behave.
Even at this late date, the GOP has done precious little to give people a reason to vote for their continued majority. If anything, their case has been set back by the revelation that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was the one who imposed a "secret hold" on the Coburn/Obama effort to shed some light on congressional outlays.
It might be time to make those plans for an early November fishing trip.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 8/31/2006