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The Blue Dogs Bark
Posted by: McQ on Friday, November 17, 2006

Following the loss of her hand-picked candidate for the number 2 slot in the Democratic House leadership, Nancy Pelosi now faces a challenge to her desire to replace Jane Harman with Alcee Hastings as head of the House Intelligence committee:
Eighteen members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative House Democrats, wrote Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Thursday imploring her to choose Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) to chair the House Intelligence Committee next year.

"Congresswoman Harman has served as Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee with skill and distinction. ... She has helped lead the bipartisan reorganization and reform of our intelligence community and has served as a strong voice for Congressional oversight of the Administration and its national security policies," wrote Reps. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and others. "Both our Caucus and Party have counted on Congresswoman Harman to answer forcefully and credibly to partisan critics who have questioned Democrats’ commitment to protecting our nation."

Harman currently serves as the top Democrat on the panel. Yet, Pelosi has all but said she will select another member as chair.

The letter came just hours after the caucus issued a stinging rebuke to Pelosi in the race for House majority leader. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) beat Pelosi’s candidate Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) decisively, drawing on the support of many centrists such as the Blue Dogs.
You can't help but feel the Blue Dogs feel enabled in their challenge to Pelosi's leadership by Hoyer's success. Pelosi is now faced with another dilemma which again put her in a lose-lose situation.
Pelosi alone decides who will chair the Intelligence Committee unlike with most other panels where she must seek the approval of her caucus. Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) are potential alternate choices for the job. Both are more liberal in general than Harman.
On the one hand she can back off and appoint Harman to the committee chairmanship. If she does that, she suffers another blow to her leadership credentials.

On the other, if she stubbornly refuses to appoint Harman and sticks with the intent to place Hastings in the chair, she suffers a credibility kill in a couple of places - corruption and doing what is best for the country (v. personal patronage/paying a political debt).

For someone who many claim is so politically savvy, I'm not particularly impressed to this point.
 
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I don’t belong to an organized political party, I’m a Democrat!

Seriously, this is one of the things I like about the Demcoratic Party, for all the railing about it being run by San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi and Massachussets liberal Ted Kennedy, it’s just not. There is more ideological diversity inside the Democratic party than there is the Republican party by far, and what this means is that if the Dems did get the trifecta of House, Senate, presidency, they still would not act with the single mindedness of the leadership that the Republicans had.

I still don’t want a Dem monopoly, but it would not as bad as the R’s.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I doubt putting Harmon as Chair will damage her leadership at all. After all, everything is at this point speculation, it’s how she makes the decision that counts. And what if she puts Reyes in there? In any event, what matters for her success and political savvy is what happens when the new Congress is in session. If she puts Harmon in, it’ll be a sign that she lessons and will be flexible in response to the party conservatives. That would probably be a very smart thing to do in terms of assuring party loyalty in the real battles ahead.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If she puts Harmon in, it’ll be a sign that she lessons and will be flexible in response to the party conservatives
.

Well she might want to "lesson" to the CBC which supports Hastings...and the CBC gets a LOT of face time and can make life tough for her too. "Blue Dogs" especially FRESHMEN Blue Dogs may not be as important as more senior Black Caucus members. Tough call, but hey she gets the big bucks.

Mayhap she COULD choose a candidate, not Harmon, not Hastings, that would ANGER EVERYONE!? How about Murtha?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
As I was reading this post I was thinking how ironic it was that the right, which thoroughly disliked the "Gang of 14," is now so enamored of the "Blue Dogs." And then I get to Captains comment.
There is more ideological diversity inside the Democratic party than there is the Republican party by far...
Captain, if Kennedy et al represent the radical left of the northeast don’t you think they’re matched by the Chaffee’s and Snowe’s of the northeast. I think there is an equal amount of ideological diversity in the two parties—it’s just that the democrats seek more retribution ala Harmon
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
There is more ideological diversity inside the Democratic party than there is the Republican party by far, and what this means is that if the Dems did get the trifecta of House, Senate, presidency, they still would not act with the single mindedness of the leadership that the Republicans had.
Ask Joe Lieberman about that....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Chaffee’s and Snowe’s

Joe Lieberman
Chafee and Snow were completely ostracized and exerted no influence over the Republican. Chafee talked about how his Republican peers wouldn’t even talk to him.

Lieberman won his election and will retain his committee positions, welcomed back. (not withstanding that it would stupid to throw him out to change the balance of power)

Ideological diversity has already affected the leadership in the Democratic Party, the leadership in the Republican Party always got what they wanted.

Conservative Dem’s have influence, liberal Republicans had none.

Do you see the difference?

Cap

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Chafee and Snow were completely ostracized and exerted no influence over the Republican.
So that’s why Snowe chairs the Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee, is on the Select Intelligence committee, the Commerce Science and Transportation as well as the Finance committee. Not bad for someone who has "no influence" over Republicans.

As for Chaffee, you’re right, he’s only on the Environment & Public Works, Foreign Relations, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees. No influence there.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
For someone who many claim is so politically savvy, I’m not particularly impressed to this point.
Well, it is easy to be savvy when mostly what you do is sit on the sidelines and carp while being silent (as acknowledged by Schumer) about most of what you will do when in office. It is much harder to actually propose policy, make appts. etc, even when out of power. She was savvy by adopting the previous stance to get power, unfortunately she can no longer choose the easy way to be savvy. We’ll see how adept she is when the easy choices are no longer as available.

The Republicans probably should consider avoiding the Democratic strategy, which actually makes it harder to exercise power if you happen to get it back.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Conservative Dem’s have influence, liberal Republicans had none.
Remember the gang of 14 filibuster agreement? Or is anything that goes contra to your storyline down the memory hole?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Remember the gang of 14 filibuster agreement? Or is anything that goes contra to your storyline down the memory hole?
An exception does not disprove the rule, and having Republicans buck the leadership is exceptional.

Look at the Dem’s, they have bucked the leadership before they have even taken power.

It’s too funny, you people knock the Dem’s for being disorganized, having no single cohesive plans, no monolithic strategy, all things that Republicans DID have because they were, other than the rare exception, willing to stay in line with the leadership.

Now when I point this out and agree with it, but to make a different point, all of sudden the Republicans are all independent mavericks as diverse as the Democrats.

Are you doing this just because if I say it, it must be disagreed with?

Why don’t YOU say it, and make it sound bad, then you can agree with it. Democrats are disorganized, have no cohesive plan or message, and have a lot of infighting, they are almost a two party system in themselves.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Chafee and Snow were completely ostracized and exerted no influence over the Republican. Chafee talked about how his Republican peers wouldn’t even talk to him.
They were probably not able to influence others to their positions but the influence they projected was the negative kind. That is they seldom caucused with the majority and actually worked to thwart the deisires of the majority just as the gang of 14 did.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
They were probably not able to influence others to their positions but the influence they projected was the negative kind. That is they seldom caucused with the majority and actually worked to thwart the deisires of the majority just as the gang of 14 did.
Frankly, I am not sure how the Republican rank and file stands on positions, i think most of them are decent people with a wide diversity of ideas, but that’s not what we are talking about, we are talking about a diversity that is not killed by the leadership.

Here is how I would rephrase the paragraph above...
They were probably not able to influence others to their positions but the influence they projected was the negative kind. That is they seldom caucused with the majority and actually worked to thwart the deisires of the LEADERSHIP just as the gang of 14 did.
Tom Delay’s arm twisting tactics are far too well known to pretend the Republican Leadership did not force compliance. Only a few had the power or lack of ambition to be independent of the leadership, and then only within limits.




 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Cap...all I can say is that you’ve swallowed the Kos-kool aid if you honestly think that the GOP (especially the senate)were in some of lockstep.

Of you haven’t been paying attention.

Either way, get a grip pal
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
So that’s why Snowe chairs the Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee, is on the Select Intelligence committee, the Commerce Science and Transportation as well as the Finance committee. Not bad for someone who has "no influence" over Republicans.
Snowe is honest, hard working, pragmatic, and avoids the kind of ideological jihad that infects so many in the two parties. I voted for her with enthusiasm this year, even though I disagreed with her on Iraq and other major issues, she does the kind of work we need in Washington: pragmatic problem solving, reaching across the aisle. Susan Collins does a good job too. If the GOP has Snowe on the ticket in 2008, they’ll get my vote.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It isn’t just the Blue Dogs barking. This editorial ran in the Los Angeles Times today (11/17/06):


NEWLY MINTED House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is off to a rocky start. On the same day she was formally elected to lead the new Democratic majority, party colleagues refused to endorse her bizarre choice of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who was investigated but not charged in the Abscam scandal more than two decades ago, as her second-in-command.

That embarrassing experience should induce Pelosi (D-San Francisco) — who appeared chastened before reporters Thursday — to reconsider another ill-advised promotion: Her apparent intention to bestow the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee not on the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), but on Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.).

Hastings, like Murtha, seems an unlikely choice for a leadership role in what Pelosi has been advertising as "the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history." Hastings was impeached as a federal judge and removed from office in the late 1980s (although he was acquitted of bribery in a criminal trial in 1983).

A litany of explanations have been adduced to explain why Pelosi would bypass Harman, an expert on intelligence matters who has won the respect of both parties while criticizing some of the Bush administration’s excesses in the war on terror. None of them is persuasive. Harman has earned this chairmanship....

[snip]

The most substantial — and alarming — speculation regarding the Harman-Pelosi rift is that the speaker may consider Harman too moderate. If one of the reasons Pelosi backed Murtha was because he took it to Republicans on the war in Iraq, Harman — who initially supported the war — may be insufficiently partisan in Pelosi’s eyes.

Pelosi, who has vowed to lead the House from the center, should think twice before indulging in a witch hunt of colleagues who can work well with Republicans.

And it isn’t as if Harman is an administration lackey. She has called for the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program to be subject to the safeguards contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and she voted against a bill to legalize the program without such safeguards. She also opposed legislation to create military commissions to try suspected foreign terrorists that did not afford detainees access to the writ of habeas corpus.

Especially at this juncture, the Intelligence Committee deserves a chairman who is respected by Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the White House, and who is free of distracting questions about past personal conduct. Harman fits that description far more than Hastings.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
If the GOP has Snowe on the ticket in 2008, they’ll get my vote.

Wow, Scott, you, her and her husband...say "Hello Democratc Landslide..."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The blue dogs bark; and having barked,
move on: nor all your doggy treats nor wit
shall lure them back to cancel half a yip
nor all your tears wash out a yelp of it.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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