Democrats Are Finding Their Way by David Sirota
In two separate articles today, the Washington Post and Roll Call paint a divergent picture of Democrats on Capitol Hill. The Post looks at Senate Democrats and says they are "standing firm" in the face of the GOP. The paper points to Democratic opposition to Bush's Social Security plan, the GOP's ethics rules changes, and the nomination of John Bolton as evidence.
Roll Call, on the other hand, finds "a major rift has developed within the House Democratic Caucus, as moderates and liberals wage a war over influence and questions mount over the leadership’s direction for the minority party." The article points to a contentious meeting last week where progressives accused moderates "of selling out to special interests on the bankruptcy bill." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "expressed particular frustration" that some members vocally joined Republicans in pushing the bill. She made "clear it was inappropriate for Members, despite their support for the bill, to urge the Republicans to bring it up."
Both of these stories are positive. The first story shows that on some key issues, Democrats have been very effective. The second story shows that on other key issues where the party has fractured - bankruptcy, class-action reform, the estate tax and energy policy - progressives are finding their voice, and are increasingly willing to tell it like it is to their colleagues (big kudos to Pelosi). That's a major step forward in building the kind of durable, sturdy opposition party that will be necessary to defeat the GOP. Far from "hurting the party," these progressives are emboldening it for the long run, as they are moving Democrats back to their traditional position as defenders of middle and working class America.
Link: http://www.davidsirota.com/2005/04/demo ... r-way.html