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What's most important about winning the House? Pelosi: "Subpoena power" [View All]

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 06:05 PM
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What's most important about winning the House? Pelosi: "Subpoena power"
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This is an AMAZING article. If you ever wondered: Do they have a plan?, or Do they know what they're doing?, you must read "Pelosi's Moment" by The Nation's William Greider.

I just (finally) got excited about the implications of a Democratic House. Snips don't do it justice, but here goes:

Even if Republicans hold on to the Senate, a House majority for Democrats will gain voice and leverage, plus the clear power to block what remains of Bush's right-wing agenda: tearing up Medicare or repealing the estate tax and other tax relief for capital. The Democratic House caucus would be freed to set its own agenda and act on it. That dynamic will change the national conversation in the run-up to the next presidential election.

If this happens, expect a flurry of long-stalled but popular legislation to be passed promptly in the House, with likely votes from nervous Republican moderates. Freewheeling debate will be revived. The interplay between House and Senate will suddenly require compromises with liberal Democrats instead of the lockstep conformity imposed by the Bush White House.

Not ONLY will bush's disastrous agenda be foiled and replaced with things that people actually care about, it gets even better:

Perhaps most significant among the changes if the Democrats take over is that the new Democratic committee chairs would be able to launch myriad hearings and investigations--the oversight Republicans have virtually shut down. That includes contracting scandals and governing breakdowns in the executive branch, constitutional abuses by this President and the gaping holes in America's system of elections. The House could become center stage for the war debate, with Bush's lieutenants under oath required to answer their critics. Oversight is one of the core functions of Congress. Because Republicans have willfully shunned it, oversight hearings have the potential to expose scandal and produce shocking headlines. Pelosi was asked what was most important about regaining majority status. "Subpoena power," she said.

Beyond that, the piece breaks down some of what the would-be committee chairs have been working on, from investigations ready-to-go -Conyers on Bush's constitutional abuses, Waxman on fraud and waste, Dingell on oil companies, Markey will take on the FCC- to pre-counted vote totals in a dem House to details on all sorts of deliciously Democratic legislation.

Greider wraps up with some advice:

Pelosi has the sure footing to step up the pace as circumstances improve, but she needs outside help. She will be aided if others turn up the heat on her, raising their expectations for what Democrats can achieve. The newly revived Progressive Caucus is already playing that role. Its members are now nearly one-third of the Democratic caucus. Co-chairs Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee will push big questions others aren't yet ready to face--like cutting the military budget and reviving the commitment to eliminate poverty.

The outsiders in the party--rank-and-file voters, issue groups and ankle-biting bloggers--should get closer to the Congressional action and insinuate themselves as friendly critics of what the party is doing or afraid to do. Banging on Bush is always worthwhile, but banging on Democrats may now produce results.

I don't know whether to start singing We Shall Overcome, or just quote Commander Codpiece, who said (repeatedly one afternoon) "the stakes couldn't be higher". So volunteer, write an editor, find another $20 for a progressive and savor the possibilities.
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