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Thread: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

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    Re: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cordelier View Post
    Nobody in Congress is going to stick their head out and make a compromise to get a Bill passed if the President can cut it off with a simple veto. There's no getting around it, BT... before legislation can move forward in a serious fashion, then the President has to make clear where he stands on the issue. That's what the State of the Union speech is supposed to be about... the President lays out his legislative agenda for the year ahead and then Congress can array themselves relative to that.

    That's not say that the unexpected doesn't happen... things occasionally pop up and if the White House is slow to react or misreads public opinion, a savvy Congressman or Senator can make some hay by putting forward a Bill to address the issue that can muster some momentum for a while... but that's a pretty rare occurrence, and it's usually not too long before the issue gets co-opted by the President.
    Of course even the most powerful Speakers and Majority leaders will keep their feelers out for a possible veto, but they know also know how to get 'Mr. President' to understand his legislative priorities will die a very quick or slow death, should he pick up that pen on something that matters to the leadership. The President will get his ideas diluted, disemboweled and turned into mulch by every committee chairman that receives them. They simply won't get to the floor if the leadership does not want them too. You know as well as I do, that a President's state of the union and his 'budget proposals' are nothing but glorified suggestions. When it comes to bills, the president proposes, and Congress disposes. Especially those budgets. they are pretty much universally dead on arrival. That is as it has always been and as it should be. Presidents are not supposed to be able dominate the legislative agenda.


    In my view, here are the real problems causing gridlock at historic levels. 1. The polarized Congress of today has its roots in the 1970s | Pew Research Center
    2. How the Speakers power has been curtailed. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.3d11ce0d592e

    Another point: The political parties control less and less of the percentage of campaign resources on which these legislators depend, and less control over the labor and manpower needs of campaigns, and the congressional leadership has less and less control on which races its shrinking cache will be spent, so that the carrots and sticks of Congressional campaign finance are less influential as big donors and small donors outside of party and congressional control have gained more influence.
    Last edited by btthegreat; 08-12-18 at 12:26 AM.

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    Re: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

    Quote Originally Posted by btthegreat View Post
    Of course even the most powerful Speakers and Majority leaders will keep their feelers out for a possible veto, but they know also know how to get 'Mr. President' to understand his legislative priorities will die a very quick or slow death, should he pick up that pen on something that matters to the leadership. The President will get his ideas diluted, disemboweled and turned into mulch by every committee chairman that receives them. They simply won't get to the floor if the leadership does not want them too. You know as well as I do, that a President's state of the union and his 'budget proposals' are nothing but glorified suggestions. When it comes to bills, the president proposes, and Congress disposes. Especially those budgets. they are pretty much universally dead on arrival. That is as it has always been and as it should be. Presidents are not supposed to be able dominate the legislative agenda.


    In my view, here are the real problems causing gridlock at historic levels. 1. The polarized Congress of today has its roots in the 1970s | Pew Research Center
    2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.3d11ce0d592e
    My model Presidency is LBJ's.... he knew how to make things happen. Listening to the recordings on his phone conversations with Congressmen and Senators is to hear a master at work. It's like watching Leonard Bernstein conduct the New York Philharmonic. Whether you agreed with his politics or not, it's a thing of beauty to listen to him apply "The Treatment" to Dick Russell or Ev Dirksen.

    I've heard all of the hand-wringing before... Nixon resigned, Ford was listless and Carter couldn't anything passed even when the Democrats had a huge majority. Congress was broken, the country is ungovernable.... malaise... blah blah blah.

    But then, somehow, Reagan made it work again... and then, after him, Clinton did too. And they both did it with hostile Congresses. How? The same way LBJ did... but constantly staying engaged. By twisting arms. Day in and day out. That's how you make the system work.... you've got to fight day and night, tooth and nail to get your bills passed. Very few Presidents get that.

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    Re: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cordelier View Post
    My model Presidency is LBJ's.... he knew how to make things happen. Listening to the recordings on his phone conversations with Congressmen and Senators is to hear a master at work. It's like watching Leonard Bernstein conduct the New York Philharmonic. Whether you agreed with his politics or not, it's a thing of beauty to listen to him apply "The Treatment" to Dick Russell or Ev Dirksen.

    I've heard all of the hand-wringing before... Nixon resigned, Ford was listless and Carter couldn't anything passed even when the Democrats had a huge majority. Congress was broken, the country is ungovernable.... malaise... blah blah blah.

    But then, somehow, Reagan made it work again... and then, after him, Clinton did too. And they both did it with hostile Congresses. How? The same way LBJ did... but constantly staying engaged. By twisting arms. Day in and day out. That's how you make the system work.... you've got to fight day and night, tooth and nail to get your bills passed. Very few Presidents get that.
    LBJ had it much easier. 1. He had long-term intimate relationships with virtually every Senator and Congressman. 2. There was a top down power structure pre-Watergate where the congressional leaders and committee chairs had the real power. 3. His party had complete control over both bodies. 4. Political parties controlled a much larger slice of the resources on which Congressmen depended. 5. He exploited the assassination of Kennedy to unify the country around the agenda.

    As for Reagan, he definitely did succeed against the odds at getting his agenda through Congress, but he did not 'twist arms day in, day out' and NOBODY that gave an honest assessment of Reagan would have claimed he 'constantly stayed engaged' in anything. He was about as hands off and disengaged as any president other than Trump. Remember that was his excuse for not knowing about Iran Contra? Lot of talk back then his over-delegating and disengagement. People whispered about Nancy and 'Prime Minister' Don Regan vying for influence during a mentally weakened second term . But Reagan was able to go over the heads of Congress. Media and journalist outlets were far fewer pre-cable, pre-internet and with Newspaper readership already declining. This was the last decade of the three network domination and the peak percentage for Americans watching those television and Ronald was not known as the 'Great Communicator for nothing! He could give one hell of a speech. He benefited from perfect timing for unique skill set. Reagan was an actor by trade and the man sure knew how to say his lines for a camera - combination of Will Rogers truisms and B Western magic!.

    As for Bill Clinton, his legislative record is a definite mixed bag. His good results came when he also had both houses. He shoved the Omibus reconciliation of '93 through without a GOP vote, just like Obama did ACA, NAFTA, and the Brady Bill, and but he failed on Health care reform, the Employment nondiscrimination Act. Once the GOP got control the only real success that was consistent with his agenda - was the Children's state insurance fund. the rest were Republican initiatives of Republican ideas, that Clinton worked hard to sell as his victories.

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    Re: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

    Quote Originally Posted by btthegreat View Post
    LBJ had it much easier. 1. He had long-term intimate relationships with virtually every Senator and Congressman. 2. There was a top down power structure pre-Watergate where the congressional leaders and committee chairs had the real power. 3. His party had complete control over both bodies. 4. Political parties controlled a much larger slice of the resources on which Congressmen depended. 5. He exploited the assassination of Kennedy to unify the country around the agenda.
    1. A good argument to vote for experience if I ever heard one.
    2. That top-down power structure and powerful committee chairs weren't really much of a help when you realize most of the top slots were held by anti-Civil Rights Southern Democrats.
    3. Complete control except when the Southern Democrats united with the Republicans, as they did quite often.
    4. All politics are local.
    5. On a practical, tactical level, how long do you think that "Kennedy Assassination" effect lasted?

    Quote Originally Posted by btthegreat View Post
    As for Reagan, he definitely did succeed against the odds at getting his agenda through Congress, but he did not 'twist arms day in, day out' and NOBODY that gave an honest assessment of Reagan would have claimed he 'constantly stayed engaged' in anything. He was about as hands off and disengaged as any president other than Trump. Remember that was his excuse for not knowing about Iran Contra? Lot of talk back then his over-delegating and disengagement. People whispered about Nancy and 'Prime Minister' Don Regan vying for influence during a mentally weakened second term . But Reagan was able to go over the heads of Congress. Media and journalist outlets were far fewer pre-cable, pre-internet and with Newspaper readership already declining. This was the last decade of the three network domination and the peak percentage for Americans watching those television and Ronald was not known as the 'Great Communicator for nothing! He could give one hell of a speech. He benefited from perfect timing for unique skill set. Reagan was an actor by trade and the man sure knew how to say his lines for a camera - combination of Will Rogers truisms and B Western magic!.
    I think you underestimate Reagan... it's true that he didn't have the same grasp of fine detail that Johnson or Clinton did, but get him one-on-one with individual Congressmen and Senators and he was effective as anyone is securing their vote. Being a show horse may work well with the general public, but if you're not a work horse as well, you're not going to win much respect from Congress. Plus, he was extremely well-served by his Baker Chiefs of Staff (Jim & Howard).

    Quote Originally Posted by btthegreat View Post
    As for Bill Clinton, his legislative record is a definite mixed bag. His good results came when he also had both houses. He shoved the Omibus reconciliation of '93 through without a GOP vote, just like Obama did ACA, NAFTA, and the Brady Bill, and but he failed on Health care reform, the Employment nondiscrimination Act. Once the GOP got control the only real success that was consistent with his agenda - was the Children's state insurance fund. the rest were Republican initiatives of Republican ideas, that Clinton worked hard to sell as his victories.
    Clinton worked hard to sell them as victories because they were victories. He was probably the best counter-puncher we've ever had as President - he took Republican hard-line conservative ideas, took the edge off them, and then made them his own. He wasn't a legislative architect designing a grand plan... instead, he was able to use his opponent's power against them - political jujutsu. The harder you hit him, the better he did. I don't think he was any better than Obama during his first two years (although, in all fairness, Obama should have had the benefit of Clinton's experience to give him hindsight - and he had a much larger margin of victory), but the difference came after their first mid-terms... that was when Clinton was in his element while Obama just seemed to curl up and do nothing for his last 6 years.

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    Re: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

    Quote Originally Posted by btthegreat View Post
    There is no question in my mind that we will take the house with about a 10-15 vote margin and most of those gains will be in purple or red hued states, and I suspect the Senate will stay in republican hands with even a vote or two to spare of republican votes to spare. The real question is what do we do with the House besides stop Republican initiatives?

    The first question is whether Pelosi gets the gavel back and it is to be a very complicated question indeed. Several of the moderate or red hued Dems may have to commit not to vote for Pelosi , when in fact that she is the absolute best option to kill future impeachment hearings. Pelosi was adamant against impeachment hearings on Bush and she is against impeachment hearings of Trump. Meanwhile the progressives will demand Pelosi support such hearings to win their votes because that is what they will have promised the base.

    Pelosi will try to walk a fine line re-openning the investigations into Russian hacking and meddling and possible Trump connections but discourage any talk that those hearings should lead to articles of impeachment ( exactly what I support myself by the way) while she plots to pack the Judiciary committee with Dems who are likewise skeptical of impeachment.

    I think there will also be an 'anybody but Pelosi' movement based on the idea that Republicans have turned her into such toxic presence that she is dead weight. There is another complication. An awful lot of the winning candidates in these primaries have been WOMEN, who are sensitive to this notion that there is much harsher standard applied to Democratic women politicians in national media than men and Hillary Clinton is exhibit A of gender bias that Dems were too silent about. They and the Womens political action groups will be watching very carefully to see how Pelosi is treated. It would be a very rare act to push the very woman out of speakership that largely maneuvered the party into a position to best take back the reins. Normally the party rewards the leadership team that saw those gains, not ditch them to the curb.

    Personally, I don't know that there is anyone better capable of sheparding the kind of legislation most likely to force difficult choices on to the GOP and Trump while avoiding the cocky misteps of newfound power.[This is the actual answer to the title question] Nancy well remembers the Henry Hyde impeachment debacle that lost the GOP its majority. That woman is not stupid, she understands the legislative process and she can count votes. I am not sure she can survive this pincher movement.
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    Re: What do we Dems do, once we win the House?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casper View Post
    First you get trump nuetered then put him on a short leash and a muzzle, then wait 2 years and put him down.
    I would like to avoid talk of impeachment altogether until the day comes when a certain number of Republicans indicate that they won't sabotage it. Impeachment is not the most important plank on a Democratic platform.
    Limiting the juggernaut of destruction from Trump and the Republicans is, stopping the hemorrhaging is.
    Like Casper said, get out the leash and muzzles, then let's get to work healing the land as best we can, and do some triage.

    And to all here on the Dem side, if we do our duty and win big, resist the temptation to make a circus of it by doing what the Right's BEEN doing for almost the last eight years. Don't feed the trolls, and don't outdo them by being bigger trolls.
    Let's all take a deep breath and let the toxins out for a little while and act professional.
    Our party needs to get serious and we need to address our own internal issues, and we need to create a platform that people can have some faith in.

    And on the day when it does become time to talk of impeachment, we will know, because it will be clear to everyone, even other Republicans, that Trump has become too much a negative even for them. They'll make it abundantly clear.
    Don't forget, the only reason some Republicans in Congress have backed him is because he's still a means to their ends, and that makes him an overall net positive. That could change quickly and drastically.
    And at that moment, they will be wishing for prophylaxis as much as everyone else.
    Self preservation is a powerful motivator, even when one has to be forced to do unpleasant things.
    When the alternative, or when doing nothing, yields even more unpleasantness, even the most morally bankrupt suddenly grow what passes for momentary pragmatism.
    *Bifftarians are Biff Tannen style RW authoritarians who worship their leader, Donald Trump, who was the inspiration for Biff Tannen, according to the screenwriter of "Back to the Future".

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