Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thanks Nancy, But What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Hard to believe that right after Nancy Pelosi begs, borrows, and steals to cobble together a majority of the House in favor of a date-certain for withdrawal from Iraq, liberals want to know when they'll get their turn:

The Progressive Caucus, with its 72 members, now represents the largest faction of House Democrats. But its concerns sometimes get short shrift as leaders look to curry favor with the Blue Dogs, a group of 43 conservative House Democrats.

In one instance last month, liberals mounted a vigorous campaign to modify the $124 billion wartime spending bill to require the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by Christmas. But Democratic leaders opted for a more moderate plan, coupling a longer withdrawal timeline with a series of waivers to allow the president to circumvent some new requirements. The approach frustrated many liberals, who blocked the bill's passage for a day before grudgingly agreeing that passing any withdrawal timeline was better than handing the Republicans a victory...

House liberals do not have as tight a hold on their party as Republican conservatives once did. They represent a plurality of the majority, and some are resentful when they lose out to the less numerous Blue Dogs.

"We're saying balance. What helped us get here was not a cautionary tone but a bold tone," Grijalva said, adding that the House's expected consideration of comprehensive immigration reform would be a "litmus test" for how strongly Democratic leaders would press legislation favored by liberals.

Yet others reject the notion that liberals haven't been rewarded. They cite the recently passed Employee Free Choice Act, a favorite of pro-labor Democrats, or the Democrats' early move to raise the minimum wage.

It's appropriate to count the minimum wage and pro-labor legislation among liberal victories. The House Democratic leadership created a majority that was not there for a date certain for withdrawal from Iraq. There's also been a laser-like focus on investigations and subpoenas. What more can liberals expect? Impeachment of the President and Vice President?

Particularly with regard to Iraq, it's clear that the measure the House has passed is destined for a veto - if it even passes the Senate. Apart from making Blue Dogs in swing districts take even tougher votes, what difference would it make if Ms. Pelosi had added another $40 billion in pork-barrel projects to buy enough votes to pass a more extreme measure?

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