Day: March 12, 2010

The Senate Majority Leadership Battle

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has been under constant attack, and faces a tough reelection contest in his home state this fall.

Already, with that fact in mind, the Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin of Illinois, often seen as the heir apparent if Reid loses his seat, is readying for a fight against the former chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Chuck Schumer of New York.

While both Durbin and Schumer are tough politicians, as anyone reaching their level must be to survive, Schumer is seen as much more aggressive and having an edge because of the fact that so many new Democratic senators were elected when he was the campaign committee chairman, and he expects their loyalty when and if a battle erupts over who should succeed Reid.

Schumer would certainly be more combative than Durbin, but that includes the ability to be more controversial and unpopular because of his constant need for attention. In a New York Jewish way, he would be as hard nosed a leader as Lyndon Johnson, and might very well be more effective than either Durbin or Reid.

But it seems to the author that President Obama might prefer Durbin as more diplomatic and more a conciliator, which could be major pluses for the Illinois Senator.

Of course, if Reid wins reelection, this is all academic as it is highly unlikely that he would be challenged for the leadership, and were he to be, he probably would win the struggle.

Of course, if by a complete collapse, the Senate goes Republican, then this whole matter is resolved in an unpleasant way!

The Character Assassination Of Democratic Congressional Leaders: Unwarranted!

These days, it is hellish to be a politician, but particularly to be a leader in Congress.

I am referring to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Both have their personal idiosyncrasies, and both have personal financial assets in the millions of dollars. Both have views and beliefs that annoy millions of Americans, particularly conservatives and Republicans.

Having said that, the same could be said to be the description of Republican leaders, except that it is liberals who object to their views and beliefs.

The point that is being made here is that both Democratic leaders are truly committed to back Barack Obama’s agenda, as one would expect. Both have worked very hard, and have had to deal with the reality of a total of 535 egos clashing on Capitol Hill, including their own, plus the power of lobbyists.

We hear constant bitter attacks, but if one looks at the record, one sees things very differently.

Nancy Pelosi has presided over a total of 290 plus bills that have successfully wended their way through the House of Representatives, due to her strong leadership skills. This includes all of the major agenda items of President Obama, including but not limited to health care reform. Whether one agrees or not with all of these bills, one can say that the Democrats have brought about a mountain of legislation that marks them as one of the most active of all Congresses in history, at least in the lower chamber. But the fact that the Speaker is female has become an added incentive for bitter attacks on her.

But of course, the Senate has stood in the way because of the filibuster threat, and the fact that Harry Reid, as decent a man as he is, is no Lyndon Johnson or even Bob Dole. Reid is trying to figure how to overcome GOP opposition with 59 Democrats, and follow through on what the House has done. The conservative and GOP opposition has been unrelenting, as well as talk radio and Fox News Channel. They will stop at nothing to destroy the Obama agenda and prevent the Senate from completing the extensive, far reaching work of the House of Representatives.

Now, on top of everything, Harry Reid has a personal crisis with the auto accident injuries of his dear wife and daughter, and is shuttling back and forth from his duties to the hospital. He is faced with a tremendous burden, along with the need to deal with a tough re-election contest, with very poor public opinion polls.

Neither Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid are truly appreciated in the nation at large for their sacrifices and efforts. One sometimes wonders why any person of their talents and abilities, who may have wealth as they both do, does not decide that the constant attacks by political and ideological opponents and the news media, and the constant public disdain they face by masses of Americans who have no real clue as to what they do, and how they sacrifice their time and efforts under great adversity, is not worth it, and decide to give it up and leave it to others.

There is an old saying: When alive, you are a “dirty politician”; only when dead, are you seen as a “statesman”. Despite the bitter attacks and character assassination, I think it is likely over time that both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will get their due in history.

But realize the treatment given these and other leaders, and politicians in general, many of whom REALLY care about the citizens they serve, will lead to many, as seen already, giving up, and leaving future leadership to mediocrities, who are only interested in their own self advancement and self aggrandizement!