November 16, 2006
Committee Chairmen From Nirvana

Steve Clemons at The Washington Note is one of those bloggers (like our revered founder) who actually know what they’re talking about, thus impressing the hell out of folks like me who just pontificate.

Steve seems to be a really decent guy, despite being well to the right of me on many issues ;-], and it’s always interesting to read his contributions to increasingly wide-ranging discussions, in which his voice is heard at higher levels than might be obvious at first. On the whole, one is left with the impression that a system which encourages, or at least allows, participation by citizens like Mr. Clemons has some strong arguments in its favor, and that a larger contingent of folks with Steve’s dedication and honesty, spread across the political spectrum, would be a welcome addition to the current state of civic discussion here in the home of the First Amendment.

I think most Americans are born with Mark Twain’s adage in the genes: “It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.”

And though I live on a hill in the district of the soon-to-be Speaker of the House, my view forward is obscured, by good wishes as well as scepticism, high hopes coupled with low expectations. Come on, Democrats, don’t fuck it up this time! (Sound of breath not being held…)

Still, check out these selections from the list of upcoming chairs of various Senate Committees.

  • AGRICULTURE — Tom Harkin
  • APPROPRIATIONS — Robert Byrd
  • ARMED SERVICES — Carl Levin
  • BANKING — Chris Dodd
  • ENVIRONMENT & PUBLIC WORKS — Barbara Boxer

  • FINANCE — Max Baucus
  • FOREIGN RELATIONS — Joseph Biden
  • HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR & PENSIONS — Edward Kennedy
  • HOMELAND & GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS — Joseph Lieberman
  • JUDICIARY — Patrick Leahy
  • INTELLIGENCE — John D. Rockefeller IV
  • RULES — Dianne Feinstein

True, one might bemoan the presence of a Lieberman, and search in vain for a Feingold in that list (he’s a member of the Budget, Judiciary, Intelligence, and Foreign Relations committees, and is expected to chair the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa). But the list must be uncomfortable reading for anyone who feels they might have committed some questionable acts in the recent past. In particular, Levin, Boxer, Leahy, and Rockefeller are not the committee chairman with whom the Bush/Cheney/Rove machine envisioned its twilight years in power.

I doubt the White House is happy to see Trent Lott back in the leadership, either. Congressional Republicans, brought down by an unpopular president and his unpopular war, and blindsided by his dismissal of SecDef Rumsfeld the day after the election (plus his rather lame explanation of why he lied about Rummy just before the vote) are not in a particularly coöperative mood.

Guess that means it’s time to dust off the old Social Security reform issue…

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at November 16, 2006 12:00 AM
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I must say that Pelosi's performance so far with respect to Murtha and Alcee Hastings is less than inspiring. Message to America: Don't worry, we're just as corrupt as the Republicans. Pelosi may be a masterful machine politician from the old school but she is less than inspiring when she is speaking. I find myself finishing her sentences for her.

As for Byrd, I love his performance on the war and on national security, but feel he will keel over soon in mid sentence.

Boxer is my favorite. Boxer is the man. In my dream world, she would be running for President and not Hillary, least of all the Republican retreads. Boxer has fire, passion, and actual convictions as opposed to Hillary who is clearly a passionless robot.

Posted by: t on November 16, 2006 9:49 AM
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