Ben Buchwalter


Come Together (Right Now!)
November 25, 2008, 2:13 pm
Filed under: 2008 Election, Congress | Tags: ,

Congressional Democrats: Stop acting like children. Martin Kady II of Politico reports today that there will be numerous divisions among the Democrats even if they win the filibuster-proof 60-seat majority. Most likely, after the Minnesota recount and Georgia runoff election, Dems will have 58 or 59 seats, but 60 is still possible.

Regardless, there is a chance that, enjoying a mandate to make a huge impact in the first two years, the Democrats will revert to infighting and squander their opportunity to change. From Politico:

Unless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can whip their caucuses into unity, numerous fault lines will be revealed: Southern Democrats vs. Northern liberals on labor law; California greens vs. Rust Belt Democrats on global warming; socialized medicine adherents vs. go-slow health care reformers; anti-war liberals vs. cautious centrists on national security. And don’t forget the anti-bailout crowd vs. the powerful Michigan Democrats in both chambers when it comes to money for Detroit.

I sincerely hope this is not what the next two years of Democratic control looks like. But I don’t quite trust members of congress to protect against that inevitability. Each Senator and Representative has his or her own constituency that they (understandably) need to look out for and will therefore continue to pursue pet issues.

So it is important for Democrat-in-Chief Barack Obama to lay out a clear Congressional agenda for Democrats to unite behind. That agenda should include:

1.) Passing a massive and efficient economic stimulus plan.
2.) Reforming the health care system with Universal Health Care as the ideal.
3.) Starting to bring troops home from Iraq. Remember Iraq?

I would also put broadening environmental policy on that list, but that could be a hard-fought battle within the Democratic Party between environmental champions like Henry Waxman and Barbara Boxer (both from California) and pro-labor, business-focused Democrats like Evan Bayh (Indiana), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan). Though both sides are looking out for important goals, those objectives will directly clash in this case.

So in order to get something done and maintain the Democratic control of Washington in 2010 and 2012, Democrats need to stick to the basics and what they can agree on early: Economic stimulus, health care reform, and stopping the war in Iraq.

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