Monday, November 15, 2010

Should Pelosi and Reid remain leaders in the Democratic Party?

I don't think so. They have not stood the test of leadership. In the last weeks of the health care debate accusations flew that Obama was not leading his party, that he needed to show more face on capital hill to influence the party to stand their ground and pass the bill. Rallying Democratic Party members on the hill for the Presidents agenda is the job of the Majority/Minoity Leaders in Congress.

Issue after issue, it seemed the Democrats were afraid of their own shadow. That fear does illustrate a lack of leadership, but I argue, not on the Presidents Part. The Dems should have had no problem feeling confident about the Presidents agenda, and legislation on the floor, considering the circumstances which propelled them to victory in 2008. Astonishingly, Obama's supporters, both citizens and Congresspeople abandoned him as outrageous criticisms flew through the House and Senate floors. Am I the only one who watches C-Span? Dems did not refute publicly the cries from the right about Socialism and even the correlations between Obama's policy actions and the coming of the Anti-Christ. Yes, on our Senate and House floors, these were the debates being pummeled into a desperate representative body. Desperate on the Republican side to take the power it so tactically gained in Bush's neo-conservative decade; and desperate on the Democrats side to make the moves necessary to, as SNL Weekend Update anchor would say, "Fix it!" I know there were Republicans desperate to 'fix it' as well, but they were not the vocal majority. Where were Pelosi and Reid on combating this irrational onslaught of criticism? Republican fear tactics and rhetoric worked on the Dems in Congress, and they seamlessly passed it on to their constituents. Bad job Pelose and Reid, you should've been there to FIGHT for your President, and your constituents.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are nice. That's nice. But, the Republicans have been mean and dirty. If Democrats want to get control of the national agenda, they need to control unruly Republicans with a strong hand, and if necessary a big stick.

One thing the Republicans did cunningly in the last election was put specific faces on the failures of the government- Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It worked for two reasons; one, it gave the Republican rhetoric traction. For people listening to soundbites, who do not really follow politics, a reference to a specific person for blame carries more weight than targeting the Democratic Party as a whole; and two, it destabilized the Democrats. Being connected with Pelosi and Reid drove down support for fellow Democratic candidates, so many Dems defected from their 'leadership'. Of course, considering their lack of leadership to begin with, I am not sure this could've been avoided even sans the Republican campaign to "Fire Pelosi and Reid!"

I argued during the Bush administration for the very same strategy. What happened during the Bush years was extremely complicated, and blaming the Bush Administration or Republicans as a whole, did nothing to help the people understand cause and effect. If opponents of Bush era policies pinned those policies to their brain masters- Rove and Cheney, then I propose that we would not have seen so much of Rove and Cheney's faces on FOX news criticizing Obama's policy actions. May I just insert here- What gall! I assume this tactic is unprecedented, though I am not sure.

In conclusing, a final reason why Pelosi and Reid should be replaced is just for sheer convenience. The bad feelings left after the viciousness of the last congress and election need to be minimized. Compromise with Pelosi and Reid will be too difficult for the 112th congress.

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