Most, given their leadership and probable agenda, don't think so. So how do they keep it? Let Perlstein tell you. No really, because I don't want anyone to mistake this as something I came up with:
First: They convince erstwhile Republicans that Democrats mean it when they say they're serious about changing Washington.
A dozen years of Republican Congresses, with half dozen years of Bush thrown in, have created nothing but opportunities. The GOP has hidden away in the statute books numberless reservoirs of policy failure. The Democrats have to shine the light on these stagnant pools.
He's kidding right? Wasn't that the Bush 'mantra' in 2000 ... changing the "tone" in Washington? And the Democrats have been soooo cooperative in that endeavor, haven't they?
So now Perlstein says they're going to change the system in Washington. Yup, you know, K Street. Lobbyists. The "bad guys". The "influence peddlers". On the way out. Gone.
And how does Perlstein think they should do that? Pass laws about gifts to House members? Ethics revisions? Limit contributions? No junkets, no nothing, shut the place down and tell them all to get a life?
No. Go after payday lenders. Yeah, you heard me right.
The Associated Press, for instance, recently reported on a security crisis in the military: Thousands of soldiers are so deep in hock to payday lenders that they can't fight overseas because they're considered security risks. No one in red America voted for this; removing the caps on payday lending rates—what the Bible calls usury—was just the kind of thing Republicans do in the dead of night to please bottom-feeding corporate lobbyists on whose money they rely.
That's the most immediate and apparently important "opportunity" he thinks Democrats should undertake to change Washington?
Heh ... he then says:
I worry about the next 100 weeks. In another office on Capitol Hill, Pelosi's colleague, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has boasted that his Democratic Party in power will open the doors wide to corporate donors once only welcomed by Republicans—including, he has said, "the distressed-debt world."
I hope this isn’t veering too far off topic (especially since it may be the first comment on the post), but there is another aspect to this impending Democrat takeover of the House that no one is talking about: some of the "Democrats" who are poised to win seats in the House are every bit as socially conservative as the average Republican:
Los Angeles Times, 10-26-06:
He is pro-business and antiabortion. He is an evangelical Christian and an avid hunter. But, unexpectedly, Heath Shuler is a Democrat, and he is running for Congress in North Carolina.
Shuler is part of a phalanx of unusually conservative Democratic candidates who may deliver crucial victories over GOP incumbents and help their party win control of the House.
The irony here, of course, is that the Schiavo case was the original casus belli that some libertarians here used to justify supporting the Democratic party. Supposedly, the social conservatives in the Republican party posed such a threat to libertarian values that we needed to ignore our concerns about economic liberty and jump on the Democrat bandwagon.
So, now will we have a freshman class of Democrats who are just as socially conservative as any Republican, but less less committed to limited government than the social conservatives on the right?
The Democrats don’t want control of Congress. They will be even more timid in passing Democratic Policies as the Republicans were in acting like Republicans. They’ll leave passing Democratic Policies to the courts.
They want to grandstand, witchhunt, and humiliate Republicans to get the Whitehouse in ’08. That way when those courts pass Democratic Policy, the Supreme Court won’t overrule them.
"Take It Or Leave It" was a radio quiz show that asked a series of questions the prize for the first question was $1 for the last question the prize was $64 the show was renamed the "$64 Question" and when it went to TV became the "$64,000 Question".
Nah, I ain’t that old just a lot of trivia stuffed in my head.
No one in red America voted for this; removing the caps on payday lending rates—what the Bible calls usury—was just the kind of thing Republicans do in the dead of night to please bottom-feeding corporate lobbyists on whose money they rely.
Notice he doesn’t bother to mention what this has to do with a Republican Congress. Just that it’s bad and "Republican-like" in his estimation. Nor does he note that such outfits are legal in some states and not in others. Hmmmm....
Is there anything else he neglects to mention? Well, there is the cap on payday lending rates to military personnel that Congress passed last month. And that AP piece he cites? It says this:
Members of the brass also blame runaway interest rates at payday lending businesses, many of which are clustered outside bases around the country. Several states have cracked down on payday lending practices, and on Tuesday, President Bush signed legislation limiting how much these businesses can charge military personnel.
Methinks Perlstein is full of crap. But I wonder what Democrats Job #1 will be once they figure out that one has already been taken care of.
Or, maybe not. Pardon the extensive quoting for the denziens too suspicious and nasty-minded to click on my links:
Odds are that lobbying in the House of Representatives is about to get harder.
If Democrats gain the 15 seats they need to win control of the House — and most analysts think they will — one of the first things the new House will do is restrict or end outright a slew of lobbying practices.
In a little-publicized statement, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House Democratic leader, has promised to change the chamber’s rules to reflect the provisions of her not-so-modestly-named Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006. The months-old measure would, among other things, prohibit House members from accepting gifts and travel from lobbyists or from organizations that employ lobbyists.
I’d say, if you guys at QandO have any interest in or zeal for any kind of government anti-corruption and anti-perks drive at all, as the most signifigant move on this horizon in years, this deserves its own post. Of course, your audience may hate you for bringing any form of positive press to N. Pelosi, deserved or not.
The Pelosi bill includes changes not only to House rules but also to federal laws. Any changes in law would have to be approved by the Senate and the president before they could take effect. But the House can alter its own rules anytime, and that’s precisely what Pelosi proposes to do as the House’s first official act next year — after it selects her as speaker.
Congress has come close to reining in lobbyists before, and it wound up doing nothing of the kind. Several of the proposals in Pelosi’s bill (H.R. 4682, for you wonks out there) were wending their way through the system but died after lawmakers concluded — incorrectly, it turned out — that voters didn’t care much about congressional "corruption." Pelosi’s bill, with small modifications, was tested in the House and lost by just three votes.
Now, spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said, Pelosi is committed to passing "the elements within the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act that are within the House rules." Any variations from the original, Crider said, would be "slight."
That would be a major development for K Street. If the House rules were altered in ways that even came close to Pelosi’s preferences, lobbying of House members would be changed significantly and immediately. The new rules would apply as soon as they were approved by a simple majority.
The Senate would be trickier. Election analysts say it’s a tossup whether Democrats will control the Senate next year. If it does, Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid, said, "Ethics reform will be a priority." But he noted that a two-thirds vote of the Senate is needed to modify its rules, which would make a quick assault on lobbying difficult.
Not so in the House. The biggest change proposed by Pelosi would be the ban on gifts and travel. Pelosi would prohibit House members and their staff from using corporate jets for travel taken as part of their official duties. She would also prevent them from taking anything of value from lobbyists, including meals, tickets and entertainment.
The ban would apply not just to lobbyists’ gifts but also to gifts from nongovernmental groups that hire lobbyists. House members and their aides would also be barred from accepting transportation or lodging for any trips that are funded, arranged, requested, planned or even attended by lobbyists.