Monday, January 11, 2010

Impeach the Pelosi-Reid Presidency

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Everyone, even supposed Obama-friendly Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, has taken the Democrats to task for the hypocrisy of holding closed door negotiations on the final health care reform bill despite Barack Obama promising during his campaign that they would be broadcast on C-Span. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brushed this off with the flip comment that “there are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail.” So she and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will have their closed door meetings.

But Candidate Obama made that promise for a reason. He understood that the American people would not stand for legislation as fundamental as health care reform being conducted in the usual backroom dealing ways of Washington, DC. And that’s why the health care reform plan is increasingly unpopular. Yes, there were unprecedented town hall meetings on health care reform back in August 2009, but the Democrats didn’t actually have their plan ready to present at those meetings or listen to the feedback.

I don’t think it’s a question of hypocrisy but a question of the relative powerlessness of President Obama within his own party. Democratic Congressional leaders just don’t feel bound by the promises Obama made on the campaign trail. What we have now is a Pelosi-Reid Presidency. I’d personally like to vote that Pelosi-Reid Presidency out of office.

The Democratic Party surely has other, better leaders who can take their place. Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, for example, would make a fine House Speaker. California Senator Dianne Feinstein would make a fine Senate Majority Leader.

But only Democrats in Congress and not the public can vote Pelosi-Reid out of office. They won’t do it until they get a wakeup call, and if they don’t get that wakeup call now, they’ll be getting an even bigger one in the fall 2010 elections.

I think the way things are going the Democrats are on track to lose 25 to 50 seats in the House and 6 to 12 seats (including Harry Reid’s) in the Senate. That could bring in Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky).

Pelosi-Reid might have been fine for the Democratic Party when their do-nothing-ness starting in 2006 contributed to dragging down the last two year’s of the Bush Administration. But now it’s their responsibility to govern, and they continue to do it badly.

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