Posts Tagged ‘Kos’

Left Radio Watch

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008


Let me be clear: Harry Reid is the Senate leader. As such, he’s expected to, you know, lead the Senate.

Yet read the tea leaves, and all you see are unnamed Senate aides whining that Reid wants to give the Homeland Security chairmanship to a Democrat who has earned the post, but is being undermined by Obama (another unitary executive?), or Dodd, or Nelson, or whoever.

So to remind everyone, Harry Reid is the Senate leader. As such, he’s expected to, you know, lead the Senate.

If he fails, then he shouldn’t be Senate leader.

Look, Kos is an incredibly good political organizer and fundraiser. God knows no one can deny that with a straight face. But this is just incredibly bombastic, and demonstrates a worrying lack of understanding as to the way the Senate runs in the real world.

Look, Harry Reid may be the Senate Majority Leader, but “leader” is little more than a titular fact. The truth is that, ultimately, no one really leads the Senate. The Senate is an incredibly arrogant, insulated, body. Most of the members have been in government for decades. Every individual accounts for a full 1% of the membership (as opposed to the 0.25% a member of the House accounts for). Senators are elected by their entire state, and only have to stand for re-election once every 6 years. Individual members can hold up legislation in committee, dedicated minorities can filibuster the majority’s agenda. And the simple fact of the matter is that being Senate Majority Leader, unlike being Speaker of the House, is a very, very crappy job. Which is the chied reason why the post is held by guys like Tom Daschle and Harry Reid and not Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton.

The simple fact of the matter is that Harry Reid,┬ámajority leader in title or not, simply doesn’t have the sway to do anything to Lieberman if the Democratic caucus, and Barack Obama, doesn’t support him. And it seems pretty clear, at this point, that the caucus probably doesn’t support it. And with good reason; Lieberman has a Senate seatfor at least the next 4years, and can make life hell for the Democrats, to say nothing of the beating the Beltway press will give to Obama is his term kicks off with an internal Senate war.

I’ve written before that, given a majority, the “netroots” needs to take great pains to avoid becoming the new version of the talk radio right. And, with that in mind, let’s keep in mind that the Republicans started their peak term, in 2005, with the right-wing making a lot of noise about removing Arlen Spectator from his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, and that term turned out not so well for them. Just saying.