Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The most important Democrat right now

It's not who you are thinking. It's not Hillary, it's not Obama. It's not even DNC chair Howard Dean. It is Senator Harry Reid.

Let me explain.

Back in November of aught'four, we Democrats suffered a tough loss. We worked so hard, only to have (as Homer Simpson might say) President Cuckoo-bananas re-elected. We lost several representatives here in Texas. We even lost our congressional leader. After several years of service, Tom Daschle was voted out of office. I didn't know it then, but those republicans in Iowa did us a huge favor.

Of course after the election, we necessarily entered a period of soul-searching. Perhaps we should move more to center suggested some. Nay, said others, Democrats lost because we have abandoned our principles. As a party, we were primed and ready for infighting, as demonstrated by the most public DNC chair campaign in our history.

But something unexpected happened--the fights never really came. Maybe Bush overreached. Maybe Tom Delay and Bill Frist were too obsessed with consolidating power. Maybe they really thought they could destroy the most popular government program in our Nation's history. It is possible.

Maybe our leader in the Senate is better than anyone thought. Maybe Reid is really, really good at what he does. I think he is.

We are winning the debate on Social Security. Despite having the trifecta, the republicans know they cannot do anything concerning Social Security without at least some political protection from bi-partisan support.

Reid has all 44 of the troops dead-in-line, including Jeffords and more than a handful of moderate republicans.

We are winning the debate over the "Nuclear Option." Make no mistake, Bill Frist is the establishment 08 candidate until the white house says otherwise. Frist desperately wants to secure the votes of the newly emboldened American Taliban. If he had the votes, he would have pulled the trigger days ago. He isn't even close. Reid again has marshalled the minority party into the majority position. Not only that, but he has so aptly framed the issues that the apparent republican failures are having lasting and harsh effects on the republicans' poll numbers. With any luck, they'll keep overreaching, Reid will keep us counter-punching, the republicans will serve up Bill Frist in 2008 and Democrats will hit the last in a series of softballs right out of the park.

I've heaped a lot of praise on Reid despite the fact that I don't agree with him 100% of the time. He's more conservative than me, and I'd wager, more conservative than the majority of DFA members. But I think he is the most important Democrat right now because of what he allows our party to do.

We don't have to squabble over what we disagree about because Reid makes it our agenda to work on what we do agree on. Howard Dean doesn't need to lead on party policy thanks to Reid. Dean is thus able to focus on the inner workings of our party: nurturing our activist base, reaching out to new party members, communicating better within our many disparate groups, and building the infrastructure for our near and lasting majority.

I love Howard Dean and I truly believe he represents the heart of our great Democratic Party. But, I am just as happy that Harry Reid can be the brain.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Dem-X said...

Hear, hear! Reid has a boldness that is new and invigorating to senate Democrats.

And I can't understand why our party is not making a bigger deal out of Frist et al appearing before evangelical congregations. Bad on so many levels!

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Synthesis said...

I think our party is relying a bit too heavily on people like us to raise a big stink about things like this.

We don't have the PR machine that the republicans do, so we need to fill in the gaps when we can.


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