Go figure that some at-risk House Democrats might not see the value in repeatedly slamming their heads into brick walls. Facing an existential threat in the upcoming midterms, moderates in the caucus want to show a few victories to the voters in their swing districts, the Washington Post reports.
At the very least, they’d like their caucus to stop obsessing over their defeats:
House Democrats running for reelection in competitive districts, facing increasingly long odds of surviving a potential Republican wave, have confronted party leaders in recent days with demands for a new midterm strategy. …
The tension was surfaced in a meeting early this month with House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-highest ranking member of their caucus. Members pushed back when Hoyer, reflecting the continued view of House leadership, argued that breaking up the spending bill would mean abandoning the potentially transformative giant package, which he said still has a chance of passage.
“I don’t care,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) shot back, telling Hoyer that House Democrats should spend the year sending bills to the Senate with the hope that bipartisan deals could be reached on issues important to a broad range of voters. The meeting was described by two members on the call, who spoke anonymously to discuss private talks.
“What I don‘t want to do is have the Democratic caucus just beat their heads against the wall for months. We need a timeline here,” Wild, who held on to her seat by less than four points in 2020, said in an interview. “If there is still hope for Manchin to agree, we need to figure out when that’s going to be and what we are doing if he doesn’t meet that deadline because in the past, he hasn’t. What’s our next plan?”
The next plan? Same as the previous plan, at least so far. The Hill reports this morning that Chuck Schumer plans to keep pounding on the brick wall, even if it has been delayed by a few days and won’t piggy-back off of the symbolism of Martin Luther King Day:
Schumer had threatened to keep senators in town through the weekend to meet the date, but the schedule got shuffled in the wake of Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) testing positive last week in a breakthrough COVID-19 case, which left Democrats short of the votes needed to start debate on the legislation. Senators were also worried about the threat of a weekend winter storm, which dumped snow and ice onto Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
Instead, the Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, with Schumer expected to move to tee up a vote on ending debate on legislation that merges the Freedom to Vote Act, which overhauls federal election and campaign finance laws, with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which strengthens the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
To overcome the hurdle, with a vote expected on Wednesday, according to Senate Democrats, they will need the support of 10 Republicans — something they aren’t expected to get. After that happens, Schumer has vowed that he will bring up a change to the Senate’s rules to try to get around the current 60-vote requirement for most legislation.
This is all performative nonsense. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have made it crystal clear for months that they will not support a nuclear-option rules change on the filibuster. Both of them publicly reaffirmed that position last week, with Sinema making a plea from the Senate floor to end the rule-changing nonsense that has gripped the upper chamber for almost a decade. The only thing this will accomplish is to allow Senate Democrats to wallow around in a certain defeat, on topics that most Americans aren’t prioritizing in a period of rapid inflation and a pandemic.
The Democratic leadership caste’s answer to Rep. Wild’s question appears to be lifted directly from Pinky & The Brain. At the start of every episode, Pinky would ask, “Gee Brain, what are we going to do tonight?” Brain would answer, “The same thing we do every night, Pinky — try to take over the world!” And consistently fail at it, too, which sounds familiar. That prompts the question: is Joe Biden Pinky and Schumer the Brain, or the other way around? Narf!
Schumer and Pelosi may not have much choice. Their progressive wing has so much momentum in party politics that they may just be strapped to the train as it runs off the bridge into the gulch, as the Post reports separately:
Just three years ago, as they vied to lead the country, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates competed to produce novel and dramatic policy proposals aimed at America’s most serious problems.
The party’s insurgent liberals, who at times ran at the front of the pack, brought to the national stage dozens of new policy ideas on health care, housing, climate, education and more. The scale of their ambition startled Washington and captivated millions of voters. The establishment candidates were forced to move left in response, adapting to incorporate the new policy energy pouring out of the party’s base.
But with the 2022 midterms months away, the intellectual optimism and energy that defined the American left during that window has been markedly deflated. During the Trump administration, the party’s progressives dreamed of returning to power and enacting generational policy change — national health care; more than doubling the minimum wage; cancellation of student debt; a complete overhaul of the immigration system; major new social and education programs.
These aspirations — already optimistic — have been battered repeatedly in the years since the primary but most severely over the last several months, as the failure of much of President Biden’s economic agenda becomes increasingly likely.
The uncertainty has become ever more urgent as Democrats weigh their campaign message in the 2022 midterm elections.
Perhaps their first step would be to learn how to do math. In a 50/50 Senate where Schumer’s control hinges on a Senate Democrat whose home state is R+40-ish, perhaps sweeping progressive transformation is a wee bit beyond the grasp. If progressives can’t do that math, then it’s the job of party leadership, including Biden, to set those expectations properly. In that they have utterly failed, and apparently still haven’t learned their lesson.
In that vein, we here at Hot Air have discovered video of Democratic leadership that explains everything. Or it might be an inside look at Dallas Cowboys’ offensive play-calling and clock management. Six of one, half-dozen of another …