April 29, 2010

Mr. Mojo Rising

It appears that Senate Democrats have regained their mojo, and are poised to go two-for-two in major policy initiatives on President Obama's agenda.

Early reports are that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, after threatening to hold the Senate in session all night, finally broke Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's filibuster on Wall Street financial reform.  That means the Senate will now begin debate on much-needed legislation designed to slow down, if not stop, any future meltdowns like the one that crippled the economy during President George W. Bush's final year in office.

That follows passage of health care reform legislation, after a nasty, year-long battle that seemed to demonstrate that Democrats were determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and squander unprecedented power: the largest congressional majorities they've seen in decades, and a charismatic, popular Democratic in the White House.

Critics argued that the Democrats wasted time and power by seeking the bipartisanship President Obama promised to deliver to Washington after his historic election.  Anyone with a pair of functioning eyes and a brain quickly realized, however, that Republicans were not interested, and had decided to take on the mantle of opposition party quite literally.

To me, the turning point came when Obama decided to do some political jiu-jitsu.  The "question time" with the Republican caucus was pure genius, followed quickly by a live-on-tee-vee session with GOP opponents.  That seemed to energize the Democrats, who  eked out a narrow but important win on health care.

Now Reid, in a tough re-election battle in Nevada, played a little hardball with Republicans, and the chin music seemed to have worked.

Better late than never, said Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who has been calling for the party to stand, deliver and "show some guts" against the lockstep, opposition-for-oppositions'-sake GOP strategy.

Interestingly, the get-up, stand-up strategy may pay some dividends for Democrats, who, according to conventional political wisdom, are going to take a shellacking at the polls this fall.

I, for one, disagree with that take, and the Washington Post kind of backs me up on it.  So does Rendell -- deep in the above-linked interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, the gov opines that the Dems' losses won't be nearly as big as the punditocracy predicts.

I also think, come November, this will pretty much say it all.

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