Democrats: Setting up the next Congress? Posted by: McQ
on Friday, June 30, 2006
Democrats are planning on taking the House in November and apparently they also plan on shaking up a few things internally, especially if a member hasn't been toeing the party line on the war:
Incomprehensibly, there are reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has decided to oust fellow Rep. Jane Harman of California in January as the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Mrs. Pelosi intends to replace Mrs. Harman in her Intelligence Committee leadership role with Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, who, depending upon which party achieves majority status, would either become chairman of the House intelligence panel or its ranking member. Either result would be appalling.
Oh man. First there are reports that John Murtha wants the majority leader's job (which would be better than having him chair the Armed Services Committee) and now we hear Pelosi may be trying to ease Jane Harmon out and put Alcee Hastings into the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence?
Yikes. Alcee Hastings? You know Hastings don't you? One of only 6 federal judges ever to be impeached and removed from the bench? A Carter appointee he was impeached for perjury and conspiracy to obtain a bribe. Unfortunately this all happened in 1989 with a Democratic Senate which means they passed on the option of barring Hastings from every holding federal office again. And now he has a shot at heading the House's Intelligence committee?
Harman has broken with some in her party, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who have called for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Harman instead calls for a timetable set by American generals in the field.
Yes, Pelosi, like much of the left blogosphere, has a litmus test and Harmon apparently has failed it. She's apparently to Republican-like to be a Democrat. In fact, she had to face an anti-war challenger in her primary and put up with being accused of colluding with the Bush administration.
Harman's positions have earned her criticism from her left, as bloggers attack her for being too supportive of Bush's anti- terror programs. Her primary opponent was endorsed by groups such as the United Farm Workers of America and the West Los Angeles Democrat Club, as well as long-time political activist Tom Hayden.
While she pulled off an easy primary win (62% to 38%), she still appears to be in a sort of no-man's land when it comes to the next Congress, even if the Dems don't win it:
Even so, her views have endangered her spot on the intelligence committee, she said. ``I don't know whether I will have any committee assignments in the next Congress,'' she said in the interview.
Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said committee membership won't be decided until after the elections.
Interestingly enough, Harmon has been very active in helping shape a National Security message that the Democrats badly need.
Harman is trying to spread her message on national security issues to other candidates through her political action committee, SecureUS. The group's advisers include Democrats such as former Florida Senator Bob Graham, former United Nations Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former Secretary of Defense William Perry.
In April, the group conducted a seminar for 32 Democratic candidates to help them speak with voters about national security issues. Candidates practiced giving stump speeches, which were videotaped and critiqued by other participants. Another session is planned in September.
Harman said the positions espoused by the committee — such as giving more power to the national intelligence director to manage intelligence-gathering, encouraging the spread of democracy by rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq and reminding voters that the terrorist threat will require a long-term response — would help Democrats appeal to middle-of-the-road voters who are concerned about security issues.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who heads the Homeland Security Committee, agrees. Harman ``believes very strongly in national security and helps to correct what has been a weakness for a lot of Democrats,'' Collins said.
But Democrats seem to have no appreciation of that fact. The anti-war litmus test is supreme. If what is being bandied about concerning Pelosi's attempts to remove Harmon is true, national security still doesn't have priority over that party litmus test and the almost blind acceptance of the anti-war "get out now" position adopted by party leaders and required of its members. For the Dems it still appears to be party over country.
But Alcee Hastings for heaven sake. How could anyone believe you are serious about national security if you appoint Hastings to the top spot on intelligence? But then with Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha in the House leadership positions, that point become rather moot, doesn't it?
BOTH parties are trying to do the minimum...the Republicans act AS IF they just need to keep on keepin’on and thye’ll win. The Democrats seem to think that the opinion polls mandate victory for them and that the Republicans are doomed, DOOMED. It looks like a rcae to the bottom for both sides.
On the other hand, this is "inside baseball" smart and it won’t HURT the Democrats much. Pelosi is doing what needs doin’... showing the troops whose boss! You vote AGAINST your leadership at your own peril. She’s letting them know now that that’s STILL true and when she’s SPEAKER Pelosi she’s figurin’ that the pre-election pruning well prevent any post-election 2nd thoughts. And I’m not sure that anyone but political junkies will know enough or care enough to pay attention. Of course political unkies VOTE, so mayhap this will have some effect on BOTH sides of the aisle.
I personally think that the republicans will lose about 2-6 seats total for the House and Senate combined.
I was just sitting here contemplating what would happen to the democrats if republicans either maintained their current seats or even gained one or two total.
After everything they have thrown at this administration and as much as they have shot themselves in the foot I have to wonder what kind of message that would send the democrats as far as areas of the war, national security, taxes, gay marriage, and abortion.
Most likely they would sit there with their hands over their ears and repeat the mantra "evil Bush, evil Bush" and blame Karl Rove (who is secretly manipulating the NY Times, LA Times and the rest of the MSM) for their losses.
Oh well an old soldier can dream cant he.
BTW current ages of liberal Supreme court Justices.
Bush still has at least 1.5 years in which he could nominate and get a supreme court justice approved. I say 1.5 because anything past that (and actually anything before that the dems will throw fits to stall until after Bush is out of office).
Personally I see 1 likely and 2 more decent chances there of getting more conservative judges on the courts. Watch the mud fly then.
This reminds me of the run up to ’04. With the Dems already planning their victory celebrations.
Gonna get real hot on the left if they don’t pick up something in the election. It’ll be sorta like watching an animal in a trap chew off it’s own leg.
Hastings - thanks for the reminder, I knew I knew that name and it wasn’t good association. Now I remember why. Can they possibly get any more NON serious about running the government? (yes, I guess they could, they could gain the presidency and appoint Louis Farakhan as Secretary of State)