S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank goodness for Democrats:

What I love about Dems:

Democrats are more sloppy than Republicans. Sloppy voters may help Al Franken win in the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount, according to quote:

“Democrats are [thought to be] more creative, free-spirited, so the idea is they’re more likely to make a mistake that the optical scan won’t pick up,” explains Hentges. “But when they recount the hard copy, those votes will be counted for Franken. If you talk to Republicans, they say it will be Franken’s advantage, because Democrats are stupid and will screw up ballots more often.”

Democrats do not keep secrets as well as Republicans. Politico's headline, "Schumer: $500 billion to $700 billion stimulus," lets the cat out of the bag about the true cost of what Congress might do to help the economy. Investigative journalism's non-profit ProPublica revealed a related story about the size of the Fed's loan portfolio. To quote the Schumer story:

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Schumer said, "I believe we need a pretty big package here." He added that Congress is working on getting the economic package to President-elect Barack Obama by Inauguration Day. "I think it has to be deep. In my view, it has to be between $500 and $700 billion, and that's because our economy is in serious, serious trouble."

Democratic women make gutsy leaders, willing to be innovative to negotiate power struggles. For example, Nancy Pelosi's power reigns supreme, according to, though she did not openly participate in the recent battle for leadership of a key House committee. Democrats are not afraid to outsmart each other, but they are also willing to try to work to achieve peaceful solutions to intra-party fights. In this case it finally came down to a vote. California Representative Henry Waxman's strategic support to certain Members who might vote for him to replace Congressman John Dingell as Chair of the House Energy and commerce Committee. Politico has the story:

Dingell, who now uses a cane, is a holdover from the era when chairmen ruled Congress with an iron fist. He has rallied support from conservative Blue Dogs and influential members of the Congressional Black Caucus eager to uphold the seniority system that has controlled power in the Democratic Caucus for more than a century.

Waxman, still a wily, energetic reformer, has a natural base among liberals — which may explain why he felt the need to reach out financially to new members, many of whom are more moderate even if they ran for Congress under a post-Watergate mantle of good-government reform.

Democrats try hard to keep their promises, but don't always succeed. Rahm Emanuel revealed in his first interview after being named as Obama's chief of staff that a middle-class tax cut will be on the agenda of President-elect Obama's first proposals to Congress after taking office. Yesterday the President-elect demured about how long rich Dems would get to keep their Bush tax cuts. But it is clear that it will not be forever. The exchange is an indicator of how much the President-elect and Congress will be partners in the quest for change, even though there may be some rather painful disagreements.

Democrats are willing to gamble according to this neat Congressional Quarterly story about Congressional newbies' office space assignments. This year's elections will affirm that Democratic candidates often gambled that they could beat very popular Republicans, including one of my favorites, Christopher Shays, the Congressman from Connecticut. I must add that I have also loved a number of these Republican moderates, and worry about them becoming extinct. To quote Shay's poignant farewell e-mail to his consituents (including me, a Democrat from Texas) :

November 21, 2008

Dear Friend:

I am sending this last e-newsletter to express my heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to serve you and other residents of the Fourth Congressional District for the past 21 years as your representative in Washington.

You and your neighbors have helped educate and guide me through letters, e-mails, calls, office hours, visits, individual conversations and community meetings. The incredible wealth of knowledge you have shared with me has enriched my life and helped make me a better member of Congress.

While this is the last e-newsletter we are sending you because we are required to move out of our Washington office by November 21, I look forward to our paths crossing again soon. All the best.
Christopher Shays
Member of Congress

Congressional Democrats, warts and all, must play a part in "cleaning up the mess" that will be left when our current president leaves the White House. We already see the outlines of the upcoming issues, legislation to be introduced, hearings that will be required, and possibilities for bipartisanship. Som Dems I love, individual leaders, will be fun to watch. Though these are incredibly difficult times, I look forward to some good days for Dems. They deserve it after this long time in the wilderness.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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