Pay it Forward
January 22, 2007
HOURS AFTER Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as House speaker last week, Democratic Representative Rahm Emanuel held a celebratoryreception at Johnny's Half Shell, an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant. Having just overseen his party's victorious campaign aschairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Emanuel resembled a mafia don who had taken down a rival family andwas now receiving visitors (Harold Ickes, Paul Begala, James Carville) to kiss his ring. Filing into the restaurant along with the giddy Democrats, however, was a crowd with markedly longer faces.
November 15, 2006
On Monday, Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that was buried amid the tumult over the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha battle for House majority leader. It was the appointment of Representative Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, to be the head of Pelosi's "transition team" as she assumes the job of House speaker.
November 14, 2006
If you haven't read our virtually unprecedented online lede across the home page, please do. If Jane Harman is pushed out of her earned chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, it will be only because Nancy Pelosi has mixed her own ideological armor with her personal pique. Somehow, she and the other party leaders, even Rahm Emanuel--who, as you might know, I much admire--can tolerate John Dingell, John Conyers, and Charlie Rangel as committee chairmen, even though they are obsessives on the wrong side of almost every issue that will come before them.
My Vote For Speaker
November 07, 2006
Yes, the mind wanders in Paris, and it wanders freely. Here's a thought that is on many people's minds but has not come off many people's tongues. Nancy Pelosi should not be speaker of the House. Rahm Emanuel should be. He is smarter, more savvy, understands the political middle as both norm and fact. And he is extremely likeable, truly trustworthy, a politician of honor and imagination. Imagine someone out of the Clinton White House who emerged untainted by even a whiff of scandal. Unlike other pols who used to raise Democratic money from me, he was not a hustler.
Jack in the Box
June 26, 2006
A moderate Democratic representative is on the phone, relating a thought he had a few days earlier about his party's prospects for winning back the House in November. "Things look really good," he had mused to himself. "You've got to wonder how we're gonna screw it up." As if on cue, House Democrats--who had been coasting on GOP scandal and disunity--turned against one another. Last Friday, Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha picked a leadership fight over the central issue that splits his party: Iraq.
February 06, 2006
IN DEMOCRATIC CIRCLES these days, there is much talk of 1994—with good reason. The president’s approval ratings are bad, Congress’s are even worse, and, most importantly, scandal is sweeping the nation’s capital. The atmosphere is poisonous enough that some Democrats believe it could produce the kind of electoral storm last seen twelve years ago, when Republicans retook Congress by railing against corruption in Washington. Of course, the 2006 Democrats differ in many ways from the 1994 Republicans. One key difference may well be the lack of Newt Gingrich—or, rather, a liberal version of him. G
December 12, 2005
Once upon a time, the Democratic family consisted of two basic types of politicians--those who supported the Iraq war and those who were against it. As the war dragged on and the political climate changed, however, varied new species began to evolve, with all manner of ideas and opinions about the occupation. For months, these different Democratic factions lived more or less in harmony. But Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha's dramatic call last month for a fast U.S. exit from Iraq was like a climate-altering asteroid event.
February 14, 2005
If you've bothered to pay any attention to the low-wattage drama of the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), you probably know that Howard Dean is on the verge of winning it. But, during a three-month process in which many candidates and would-be candidates have stumbled briefly into the fray, nothing is more illustrative of how Democratic politics have changed than the fate of Leo Hindery. You've probably never heard of Hindery, but he is one of the party establishment's longtime moneymen.
Learning from Newt
January 24, 2005
Early last year, a Democratic representative named Chris Bell decided it was time someone really went after Tom DeLay. Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Bell had come to believe that DeLay, a fellow Texan, was not just a tyrannical House majority leader, but that his pursuit of power had led him to trample House ethics rules.