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elevated from the diaries by DemFromCT. I missed this, also. And it might go unnoticed yet again, so here it is. All politics is local, including in Maine

If you are a moderate Republican, the message should be clear: your party does not want you.

Well, that isn't always entirely true.  Some have no problem taking your vote providing you understand they will be openly hostile towards you while others take steps to bring you in line. Republican Senators, for example, just passed a new rule designed specifically to marginalize the voices of their own moderates.

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans approved a little noticed (at least by me) rule change which allows the caucus leader to make committee appointments instead of the previous method of having members choose based on their seniority in the chamber.  It may sound innocent enough, but it's not.

Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine are both worried.
"I just think it's a mistake," Snowe said. "And there's only one reason for that change. It's to punish people." [...]

"I think it raises concerns about people constantly jockeying for position or worrying that their votes are going to be used against them," Collins said.[...]

Nobody could lose a committee assignment. But, for example, anyone who wanted to move from the Banking Committee to the Appropriations Committee, which decides where the federal government spends its money, would have to please the caucus leader.

"It's not a benign issue," Snowe said. "It's not just moderates, it's anybody who has a dissenting view. That is held as a weapon. There's no question."

After spending 16 years in the House minority, Snowe said her party won the majority in 1994, when she won her Senate seat, because it was seen as the party of ideas and innovation. She argued that changing rules to punish dissidents at a time of growing majorities is a sign of weakness, not of strength.

"Are we going to punish people who don't stand in lockstep?" Snowe asked. "Are we going to punish people who have diverse views within our party?"


Yes, Senator Snowe, the Republicans will punish those who have diverse views.

And in case you think Snowe and Collins are overreacting, Trent Lott is blunt about the reason for the change:

"In fact, that's the way you get a moderate to vote with you. You reward them. It's not punishment," said Lott, R-Miss. "You give them something they want, you help their region. Then when you need them when you need them, you say, 'I've got to have you.' "

Original Post here.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:32 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great Diary (none)
    Thank you, I hadn't seen this information before.
  •  I said this before (none)
    Olympia, the water's warm over here. And you can bring your friend Susan, too. She sounded pretty pissed about the Intelligence reform disaster. Perhaps it's time to teach the GOP a lesson??
    •  Don't forget your friend Lincoln. (none)
      Maybe it really IS the case that northerners and southerners are so different they should be in different countries.  The country is fracturing.  The northern Republicans are going to end up going Dem the same way the southern Dems went Republican.

      Sigh.  Maybe it actually is time for this.

      Proud Member, Controversial Daily Kos Extremist Group

      by DC Pol Sci on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:17:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tied to Arlen Specter (none)
    If they wanted to refuse him leadership of the judiciary committee, this rule change now allows that.  Moderates, you better shine up those boots.  You will be goose-stepping soon.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."   --  Margaret Mead

    by gloever on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:34:39 AM PST

  •  Could someone explain to me (none)
    what's wrong with this idea?

    The moderates split off and form their own centrist party, possibly attracting some centrist Dems like Lieberman. Also maybe Jeffords. The new party then runs its own candidates to split the Republican vote, attracting moderate voters who don't feel comfortable with either the Dems or the far-right Repubs. The Republican party is forced back towards the center.

    The moderates already have an organization in place that could serve as the seed of a party machine, right? They have donor lists. They are probably popular enough at home that they don't need to fear for their seats (at least Chafee is). So what are the drawbacks? They would wield more power as a third party, I think, than as a minority within their own party.

    •  I agree (none)
      Extremists in both parties always think they got a mandate to put extreme policy into law. The next election almost always sets them straight. Just think about Carter, who was sent home by the Reagan Democrats, or Bush1, who was sent home by Clinton Republicans. The get votes you have to be in the middle. Let the Repubs try and get their extreme policies in place, let them try and get Roe overturned, at the next election, they will be punished. America is centrist, not extreme left or right.
    •  Also Agree (none)
      Split off and name the new centrist party the "New Republican" party (or, for those who remember the New Coke debacle Republican Classic).

      This does two things, one, it keeps the name "Republican" for those who have always felt a kinship with the party but are increasingly disenchanted.  Two, it isolates the "old" Republicans... yeah, yeah, I know they are the majority but a few "New Republicans"... Snowe, Collins, Chafee, Jeffords, Lugar, McCain would form a block that would have both the Democrats and the "old" Republicans kissing their... feet to get anything through.  Simple IMO.

      •  Actually... (4.00)
        They should call themselves the Whigs. That would just be cool :P.
      •  United Party (none)
        gets my vote.  It's got a lot going for it.
        1. It accurately describes the composition of the party, as Dems and Repubs will break from their own ranks and unite to form this one.
        2. The word "United" has a positive connotation, generally.
        3. "United" has no prior connotation, politically (at least in the U.S.), unlike "whig" (an archaic party full of old white dudes) or "New Republican"  (Dems will be less likely to join).
        4. It's in the freaking name of our country.  That's got to be a plus.
        American party could be good too, I guess.
    •  There's no money in it. (none)
      Splitting off into a third party leaves them way, way, way, way, way (you get the idea) behind the eight ball when it comes to fundraising, party organization, etc.

      They'd no longer be entitled to the Republican line on the ballot when it came time for re-election, and they wouldn't have anything with near the strength of the national Republican party to turn to for funding the petition drive it would take to get their name on it.

      There's a huge institutional advantage to remaining with a national party. It's part of the reason why it always seems to come down to just two here in the United States. Minor parties and splinter groups are economically better off merging with the giants, just as in the corporate world.

    •  sadly, I think they are going extinct (none)
      moderates wouldn't be in such trouble if there were enough of them to do anything.  nowadays there aren't more than a handful, and that's not much of a basis for forming a new party, even if you can lure in a few conservative Democrats to add fuel...

      would certainly be a more interesting way to get a third party than the current incarnations, though!

      acm

      Those who would trade an essential freedom for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security. ................ Benjamin Franklin

      by redfox1 on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 07:29:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (none)
    Very simple solution Olympia and Susie, cross the aisle, or get back on your knees. Just remember those "family values" while your down there.
  •  Relentless Demise (4.00)
     We are seeing a relentless demise in democratic representation with a coerced and coordinated effort to surpress any voice of dissent.

    They are putting in line the pawns of their game......but what exactly is it that they want to achieve..... I wonder if they are trying to convert the whole world to Jesus for the sake of better business opportunities.

    On John McCain (unrelated, but.....another form of relentless demise)
     the voice of hypocrisy...

      in my election depression, unable to sleep, I saw John McCain on Jay Leno. He specifically stated that the Osa bin Laden tape that aired the Friday before the election helped elect George Bush. He went on about it. I remember vividly because I found it revolting.
      This morning on Meet the Press, he said the exact opposite. No he didn't think the tape had any effect on the election he said. What a hypocrite. He is so snarkily aggrandizing. I give him a great big Mr. Yuk Sticker.

    one liberal fighting against the Christian jihadists

    by missliberties on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:47:06 AM PST

    •  I'll betcha there were a lot of people (none)
      who never saw it coming in Germany and Italy either.
      Also, props for the Mr. Yuk reference.
    •  Maybe some will come to our side (none)
      Could this be the beginning of moderate Republicans joining the Dems? Can we get closer to parity in the Senate again? Do you remember Jim Jeffords?

      An engineer who believes that facts still matter

      by shark on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 01:43:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (none)
        I think moderate Republicans are Pissed. Look at the budget deficiet.

        They should be ashamed of their leadership.....they are definitely not Republicans.......!

        They are troubling!

        one liberal fighting against the Christian jihadists

        by missliberties on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 03:20:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not gonna happen (none)
          Nobody's gonna jump off the good ship GOP.  Chaffee has already made it clear he is staying.  Snowe is committed enough to the GOP to have been a speaker at the convention.  

          Why?  Why would anyone want to join the Dems now?  As of this moment, they barely have any more political clout than do the Greens.  If anything, we should be looking to see which DEMS are gonna join the GOP.

          "George W. Bush is the second coming. However, he is not the second coming of Jesus H. Christ, but rather the second coming of Adolf Hitler."

          by somewhereinthecity on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 06:58:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My Opinion (none)
            you are way off base thinking Dems are gonna jump ship.

            The repugs are afraid of losing their status, clout, rank and funding. That is how they "blackmail" them to vote the gop way.
            Just MHO!

            one liberal fighting against the Christian jihadists

            by missliberties on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:35:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  lots of GOP Senators feeling chafed (none)
    Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel got screwed on Sec of State
    Specter, Collins and Snowe are getting shafted on committee rules
    Chaffee was already a black sheep

    DeWine kinda feels jerked-around by the leadership from time-to-time.

    Can Harry Reid organize a mass defection?

    Chaffee
    Collins
    DeWine
    Hagel
    Lugar
    Snowe
    Specter

    Reid needs six of these seven to swing control of the Senate. Ouch!

    •  They could form a third caucus. (none)
      Imagine that.  A third party with seven seats in the Senate.  That would make it, what, 47-45-7-1?  The moderate seven could really stick it to Frist, but good.

      Alas, I don't think they're as well organized as all that.

      What did we do to deserve George W. Bush?

      by republicans are idiots on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:58:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would love to see that (none)
      It's hard for me to picture Lugar or DeWine defecting, although I found it hopeful that DeWine opposed the kill-the-queers referendum in Ohio.
      Come home, people. I did.

      BQ (Registered Republican, 1984-2002)

      •  May I ask what made you change your (none)
        registration?

        I'm always interested in what made the ex-Republicans at dKos jump ship.  It could be helpful in talking to similarly disaffected Republicans and getting them to vote Dem. more often.

        •  OK, here's my story (none)
          I registered Republican when I turned 18. It was the Reagan period and I was really into reading Ayn Rand at the time. Also, I am related by marriage (his, not mine) to a prominent (now retired) Democratic politician and I was not happy with the way he was being treated by the party.
          While I was a big fan of Rand, I also noted that she disagreed with Reagan on abortion. I always supported abortion rights, and, even while I supported Bush Sr., I was uneasy with the right-wing social agenda. I was always closer to libertarian (small 'l') than conservative as the word has come to mean in recent years.
          While I kept my registration (all it really means in Ohio is which primary you vote in), I voted for Perot twice (I've always had a weakness for mavericks) and supported a local Demo whose campaigns were managed by my sister.
          I think the turning point came when I got my computer for Christmas in 1999. Free Republic was actually the first site I went to (a friend of mine is hooked on it). I was more interested in the threads on libertarian issues like drug legalization, but I got flamed big time when I would go to an abortion thread. It began to occur to me that I had little in common with most of the people over there. I voted for Gore (primarily due to the abortion issue and the whole Supreme Court balance). During the Bush campaign I began to become really disenchanted with the agenda I saw at FR, and it really became insufferable after 9-11. The place began to border on a hate site.
          I moved to Pennsylvania in 2002 and got to register when I got my driver's license. I came to the only logical conclusion.
    •  Olympia Snowe (4.00)
      Early Sunday morning (11/21/2004 5:08am MST) CNN Headline news had Olympia Snowe reacting to the failed security vote; on screen she was identified as a Democrat "(D)" as her comments were juxtaposed against those of a "conservative republican".
    •  Add to the list (none)
      Voinovich

      "I'm the Vice-President. They know it, and they know that I know it." --Dan Quayle

      by BaltimoreDem on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 12:30:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And yet (none)
    you sound surprised?? SOP, baby, SOP. First, kill all the moderates. I hope they wake up soon.
  •  While Reid is calling for bipartisanship (none)
    The rethugs are not even interested in unipartisanship. When oh when will these bastards
    have a backlash from the brain dead populace and press??
     
  •  Moderates bolting? Nah. (3.66)
    If I were y'all, I wouldn't hold out hope on the moderates bolting the party, even in the Senate, where party isn't as important to be elected.  I've been watching moderate Republicans in my state who will complain endlessly about the people their party nominates, and go on to give them their unqualified support when the election comes around.

    We tend to misunderstand the "moderation" of some of the Republicans.  You have to ask yourself why they are Republican in the first place.  I think we'd like to believe that they are all fans of Lincoln or T. R., but lets face it, those peieces of the party were before our grandparents first voted.  If they were inclined to vote as progressives, they would have switched parties a long time ago.

    So, count on these folks here and there when a vote comes up, but don't count on them to switch.  Deep down, they like low taxes more than they like their less well to do neighbors, so I'm not sure how much we want them anyway.

    "I am a veritable peripatetic bifurcated volcano on behalf of Democratic principles." -Henry Fountain Ashurst

    by tedski on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:00:59 AM PST

  •  Under the radar rider (4.00)
    Mt. Soledad icon is slipped in federal legislation

    From the San Diego Union Tribune

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20041121-99991n21soledad.html

    "Congress last night joined the fight to keep the Mount Soledad cross in place by naming it a national veterans memorial.

    The designation, inserted by two local congressmen in a voluminous spending bill that requires President Bush's approval, raises more questions about the fate of the symbol that has been at the center of an emotional 15-year legal battle.

    Christian activists hailed the development yesterday. Civil libertarians, however, said it would not stop a plan to move the cross from city land in La Jolla to comply with a federal court injunction that has been on hold since 1991."

  •  PARTY BONDAGE & DISCIPLINE (none)


    Once again, Bushco takes a leaf from Putin's book. Those who wish to enjoy the benefits of membership in the Party, must maintain absolute discipline at all times. It is for the good of the State, tovarich.

    This will simply remove that pesky Senatorial prerogative, independence. Once that's gone, other archaic traits such as integrity and conscience will wither and die, like unused appendages. The senator of the future will be sort of hybrid, part weasel and part vegetable, needing no spine, heart, brain, spleen or balls. He or she will only need an ear to receive orders, and a finger to vote on them.

  •  The Bush administration (4.00)
    is systematically dismantling all the checks and balances that have enabled our form of electoral democracy to function for nearly 230 years. I fully expect soon to see Bush, Cheney, and assorted henchmen, like Khrushchev standing on the Kremlin wall, reviewing troops from the steps of the Capitol.

    I am in process of writing to both my senators, citing Republican disregard for the rules of law and governance this weekend, suggesting that they seriously consider crossing the aisle or becoming Independents.

    I've written so many letters to them over the last few years that Olympia and I are on a first-name basis.

    "When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent."--Isaac Asimov

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:18:16 AM PST

  •  Wow (none)
    The overreaching started early.  I hope this brings a swift demise to one-party rule, but I'm not hopeful.

    Are they going to use this rule to take people out of leadership when they displease the fundies?  I think this is what they're setting up.

    I'm a member of a minority group: the reality-based community.

    by Unstable Isotope on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:21:13 AM PST

  •  When will they get their heads out of the sand? (none)
    I just wonder when the Republican moderates will actually acknowledge whats happening around them.  Its like they are on the titanic and won't recognize its sinking. do they actually think that they have a real voice in their party anymore? Ask Arlen if they do. Snowe and Collins and all the rest need to get a clue

    The Kohlman Observer: If you don't know you better ask somebody...or go to www.kohlmanobserver.com

    by kohlmanobserver on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:26:43 AM PST

  •  Specter (none)
    Isnt this the move they used to pressure specter into becoming more hardline ? dont block our judges or your wont get the chair of the judiciary ?

    Seems like the new rules is working very well. Personally, I LIKE the new rule. I LIKE new rules that marginalize moderate republicans, and puts them in their place. The more the wingnuts change the rules to affect this situation,  the more i am going to LIKE it.

    I dont think its fair that only Dems suffer at the hands of the wingnuts, moderates should have to as well.

    Rome has to burn before it can be rebuilt.

  •  Why does Kostown beg GOP mod's to join (none)
    ... our party, while it invites Democratic moderates -- much to the left of GOP moderates -- to butt out?
    •  good question (none)
      maybe because Kostown is big and has diverse opinion? or maybe in joe's case leaving a Senate seat for the repubs to occupy (even in rumor) is hardly inspirational?

      point well taken, though, as always. Me I'm a big tenter without the knife Joe slips in to the party in public on a regular basis.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:41:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Really???? (none)
      How about Senator Nelson (Nebraska)? About Congressman Taylor (MS-4)? Governor Blanco (Louisiana)? And many-many others. There are still lots of Democrats who hold conservative views - pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay rights and so on. Look ratings at http://www.vote-smart.org - you will find gobs of conservative democrats in state legislatures... Many moderate Republicans are well to the left of them on many issues, especially - social..

      We not only need them - we absolutely need them. And they need us..

      •  moderates (none)
        Good question.  I myself am a moderate Dem because I can't get elected in the red state i live in regardless of party.

        what the deaniacs and liberal dems must realize that to get elected in the "New South" and Midwest, you must be a moderate Democrat.

        EB08 Rosenberg for Chair

        by dsolzman on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 01:17:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cause (none)
      we need all the help we can get! Seriously! Take a reality check.
      We are outnumbered and out manuevered.
      Anyone that helps to fight this growing dictatorship is fine with me.

      one liberal fighting against the Christian jihadists

      by missliberties on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:41:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I'm not mistaken, this brings Senate GOP (4.00)
    ... into rough conformance with existing rules in effect for the Senate Democratic caucus. Details are sparse -- maybe one of the hill rats can expand on this.
  •  It can't last (4.00)
    I'm reading Jeremy Rifkin's The European Dream. I'm only about half way thru, but it is pretty interesting. It's a good history of why we (America) are like we are, the effects of globalization and the future of politics.

    It is about the havoc technology (internet, cell phones, etc,) is playing with politics and how the United States is not setup to cope politically with the fast changing world. According to Rifkin, The European Union seems set to reap the most benefits along with its citizens.

    He talks about how hierarchial systems like the Soviet Union couldn't survive in an age of decentalized communication where everybody (the disenfranchized) has the ability to  get together and make an end run around centralized power. Just like we are doing right now thru Kos and other blogs. It wasn't Reagan, but technology that did in the Soviet Union. It just happened on Reagan's watch.

    I can see the same thing happening right now here.

    The moderates are not going to be beholden to the Republican party much longer. The party's chief threat, withholding funds, is no longer there. As we(Dean) proved Money is now easily available from the grassroots.

    As a power player, we will be demanding loyalty to us, not the party.

    That's where I am right now. If the democratic party can not represent me, then My money is going to go elsewhere. The repubs are making the same noises.

    I like the idea of a moderate caucus. Get some moderate dems in there too, and we might see some civility return to govt.

    Well, I need to get back to my reading. It's interesting to see my experience explained in a way that I actually agree with. It's fun knowing we are making history.

  •  Seriously - they aren't "moderates" (none)
    The GOP has moved so far to the right that it's no longer accurate to call progressive Republicans "moderates." George Bush is a moderate. Dick Cheney is a moderate. Arlen Spector, Rudy and Ahnald are liberals.

    They call themselves "moderates" so as not to besmirch themselves with the "liberal" label, which their party has turned into a smear over the last 20 years.

    Why help give them that cover by playing the word game their way? If a Republican pol is for choice, civil rights and gun control, that Republican is a liberal Republican.

    •  Embrace the label (none)
      I disagree. I like the idea of reframing choice, civil rights, and gun control as moderate positions. Most voters consider themselves moderates.
      •  But it doesn't work that way for Dems (4.00)
        If you are Dem and you are for choice, civil rights and gun control, you are considered a flaming liberal by the Reds. If we are, then so are they.

        The stealth objective is to distill the negativity from "liberal," which, after all, is just a degree on the spectrum of idealogy, by applying it in a broader context. (A secondary objective is to make the liberal Republicans squirm when they're called "liberals.")

        The Talibanista journal "Human Events" consistently refers to Spector et all as "liberal Republicans," underscoring the splinter among the Reds. I say, if we can help them fall apart into warring camps, it's our duty to do so.

        •  very interesting point of view. (none)
          haven't thought it through, so don't know if i agree, but most interesting nonetheless.

          We get a lot of advice. We tend to listen when somebody's won something. - Joe Lockhart

          by yankeedoodler on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 04:35:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We need to work hard to change that (none)
          after the extremes going on at present, I would think moderate folks would be thrilled to move a little to the left for the sake of personal liberties.

          one liberal fighting against the Christian jihadists

          by missliberties on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:44:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Go ahead and disenfranchise moderates! (none)
     It will make it easier for us to vote for the other guy next election!

     Or it will make it easier for us to work for a primary opponent of yours to get you good and truly mud covered should you survive it.

    It's been a time, therefore, of illusion and false hopes, and the longer it continues, the more dangerous it becomes.- John Anderson

    by Anderson Republican on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 10:15:35 AM PST

  •  People in Glass Houses (4.00)
    How would y'all react to the following headline:

    Another Democrat Rule: This One To Suppress Moderates

    Because that's how it is. Here's the money quote:

    Democratic leaders have authority under caucus rules to make all committee assignments
    What the GOP's rule change did is place the committee assignments for half of the "A" committees into Frist's hands, as opposd to them coming from the senority system. Which, you know, is so much worse then all D committee assignments being handed out by the Minority Leader. And Harry Reid being less evil than Bill Frist is not an excuse.

    Yep, what we've spent 37 (at time of posting) comments criticizing the GOP for, we've been doing for a while! Go us! Go Democracy!

    Decent Hill article on it here, which include the example of Daschle giving Johnson an Appropriations spot to help his re-election, and Reid giving Schumer a Finance spot to help convince him to stay in the Senate.

    While I think all committee assignments should be by senority, seems a bit, shall we say, hypocritical to be getting all worked up when They move towards something We already do...something about people in glass houses and throwing stones?

    •  Are we using it to stomp dissenters? (4.00)
      Republicans have a perfect right to set their caucus rules however they want. Using those rules as a club for sole use on moderates is a high risk strategy. Which people here suggest is going to backfire.

      No glass house visible. Unless you can point out some instances where Daschle abused this power.

  •  Does this sound a bit like... (none)
    the old parliamentary system?

    IIRC the interesting thing about my time as an intern in Ireland was that they were trying to figure out how to cope with the growing trend towards conscience voting within the parties. The whips were having quite a time reeling the politicians back into the fold.

    One thing they were interested in was how the American parties balanced party and conscience votes.

    Wow...weird

    •  No, but it does sound like (none)
      the beginnings of Fascism.
      •  Extreme reaction (none)
        Revising the rules to increase party discipline is not fascism, I'm sorry to break it to you.  Plenty of political parties in fully functioning democracies enforce party discipline.  I'm getting really tired of people just throwing around the term fascism, pretty soon it won't mean anything anymore.
        •  Let's look at the bigger picture (none)
          1. Corporate-run media willingly doing the government's bidding. Along with crackdowns and pending lawsuits against the media, freedom of speech is on it's last legs.
          2. All forms of opposition thinking and moderation being squelched. This being the latest example.
          3. Increased calls for nationalism. Us vs. Them.
          4. Decreases in personal civil liberties and privacy.
          5. Controlling the public by fostering and appealing to fear.
          6. Increasing suspicion of those that "do not believe". Assimilate or be ostracized.
          7. Increase in homophobia and hatred based on other religious beliefs.

          What does that sound like to you?
          If not now, when?
  •  Herseth - Agriculture Committee (none)
    I believe Stephanie Herseth got slotted immediately into the coveted Agricultural Committee when she first joined the House. Republicans aren't the only party that structures their causus assignments to give maximum political advantage. I just can't get too excited about the changing Senate GOP rules. It's a smart move for Frist as it makes it easier to implement their agenda and control mavericks. It's smart party politics even if it is terrible for America.

    Today's lesson: don't rape, don't torture, don't kill... - Riverbend

    by joejoejoe on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 11:51:48 AM PST

  •  Is there a link to the actual text of the rule? (none)
    Because there is a difference from placing someone on a committee because it is in the best interest for the states (e.g. Herseth D, SD on agriculture) and not allowing a legislator with the most experience/seniority on a committee to not ascend to the leadership because he/she did not fall in lock step with the party line (e.g. Specter and the judiciary committee).  If I am not mistaken, the rule change affects leadership positions not necessarily all rank and file.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."   --  Margaret Mead

    by gloever on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 12:04:37 PM PST

  •  Goodbye, Bases. (none)
    So which gets closed, Brunswick Naval Air Station, Portsmouth Shipyard, or both?  There is a new round of closings coming soon, and those with the poer don't like our Congressional delegation.
  •  Shoveling Snowe (none)
    This is more potential fuel for the Snowe opponent in '06. Republicans are working hard to do our jobs for us here in blue states with Republican representatives. Why have a RINO whose own extremist party won't talk to her when you could have an actual Democrat?

    I continue to say all moderate Republicans from blue states are in deep trouble in '06. I won't be surprised to see a number of GOP-supported primary challengers just to help us along even more. It's a shame, because Olympia Snowe is one of an increasingly small minority of Republicans I could happily vote for. But not this time, I'm afraid.


    --
    I am a reform Democrat.

    by rusty on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 12:37:20 PM PST

  •  Democrats after Jeffords defection (none)
    You know we had some of the most conservative members of our caucus chairing various committees when Jeffords defected, including the most desired ones like Finance (Baucus) and Budget (Conrad).  And then there others like Hollings and Byrd who I guess are considered left of center nowadays in this screwed up country.

    DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

    by DWCG on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 02:50:47 PM PST

  •  Snowe more so than Collins (none)
    But if you remove them from their Chairmanships they've got little incentive to remain Republicans, especially if we put forth unchallenged well-funded Democratic challengers.

    And it's not like we'd face much opposition to replacing Lieberman with Collins as the top Dem on Gov. Affairs and Kerry's moved on to bigger things than being the top Dem on Small Business.  There's room for both of them.

    DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

    by DWCG on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 03:54:11 PM PST

  •  Snowe and Collins are both lost causes... (4.00)
    ...and will never go independent, never mind change parties.

    Jim Jeffords was never married to Vermont's last Republican, Olympia Snowe is.

    Collins is a wholly owned subsidiary of the institutional Republican party -- her civilian 'business' experience consisted of staffing for other Republican officials, or working for campaign consulting firms catering to Republicans.

    Patria est ubicumque bene. "Their 'Homeland' is wherever they can turn a buck." Cicero, Tusculan Disputations.

    by Otis Noman on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:16:47 PM PST

  •  Welcome to the Democratic Party... (none)
    Senators Snowe, Collins, and Chaffee. Nice to have you on board. Did you leave any friends behind that might be better off (not to mention being able to look themselves in the mirror every morning) by joining your exodus from the formerly respectable Republican party?

    We are a big tent. Dissenting voices are welcome here.

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 08:29:54 PM PST

    •  Disagree (3.00)
      The problem is that "dissenting voices" are often as unwelcome in Democratic party as in Republican. Both parties are moving in "extremist" direction - far left and far right correspondingly. Remember an attempt to give
      former PA Governor Casey right to address one of recent Democratic Presidential conventions? He was somply denied a chance to speak for being pro-life.

      BTW - Republicans usually work smarter. They ran Arnie and Rudy as very prominent speakers during last Conventions, they advertised as loudly as they could Lincoln Chafee independence and his opposition to a lot of party positions during his Senate campaign of 2000. Sometimes it seems to me, that Republicans want to win (anyway, they understood that Specter was more electable, then Toomey, and almost all leadership supported him, and so on), while Democrats want to be "ideologically pure". As a result - they win, and we can only boast about our "progressism" and some local successes. Republicans ran obvious RINO Bloomberg when they understood that it's the only way for them to win NYC mayorality, why can't we do the same where it's feasible, and progressive simply can't win????

      •  Demcrats are... (none)
        moving to the "extremist" far left?

        "Democrats want to be "ideologically pure"?

        You and I have two very different views of the democratic party.

        "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 08:14:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely different. So what??? (none)
          You proclaim "big tent" theory, don't you? I stressed in my posts, that i am generally moderate-to-liberal type. Just as all really successful recent Democratic presidential candidates are: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.. On the contrary - all candidates, which were (or at least were perceived) a liberals - G. McGovern, W. Mondale, M. Dukakis, J. Kerry, even A. Gore - invariably lost. I am absolutely no fan of Nancy Pelosy and consider her "a Democratic Newt" and so on, but i am absolutely comfortable with (for example) Dianne Feinstein... I support abortion righs and gay rights (though i oppose gay marriage), but i am irritated when party gets fixated on these problems only. Now you probably understand..
          •  I would suggest (none)
            you spend some time with our friends in the green party and, even more so, the unconverted nader voters, if you want to see the "extreme left" and the "ideologically pure." The Democratic Party hasn't been either of those in a long, long time. What passes for "lefty" these days (Howard Dean for instance) is in reality "moderate" or, dare I say, "centrist."

            And I have, and will continue to, argue that the problem with the Democratic Party is not direction, right, left, or center... but rather definition. Who are we and what do we stand for? And why do we run away from that which we stand for? In my view the only reason, and the rest of the nation, perceive the Democratic party as fixated only on abortion and gay rights is that we have allowed the Republican propoganda machine to define us into that corner. We allow them to define us instead of defining ourselves.

            This is where we fail.

            "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

            by Andrew C White on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 12:50:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here i agree (none)
              Yeah, it's possible to find people to the left of Democratic Party "activists", as well as - to the right of republican party "wingnuts". There are, for example - communists on the left and KKK-people and fascists on the right. But we speak here about "mainstream", don't we? We don't want to be neither communists, nor fascists, don't we? Despite some Green's success on local level - it's still not on equal footing with 2 main parties as far as it's electoral influence is concerned. So i speak strictly of "mainstream" here. And THEN my reasoning will be correct: most of the Republicans leaders come from the very right end of this "mainstream" (and party as a whole moves in that direction), while most of Democratic - from the very left, and it's the direction of party development. The moderates in BOTH parties feel discomfort and react (well - they react differently, but it's a sign of lack of "normalcy")....
      •  Incorrect Assumptions (none)
        Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader, supports abortion.

        We all gave great hope and support for Brad Carson, who would be on the right half of the Republicans.

        Casey was not denied a chance to speak because of abortion - he refused to endorse Cliton-Gore.  It is not moving left or right to restrict speakers at the convention to those who have endorsed the parties nominee.

        And how, exactly, are the Democrats moving to the left?  Some are, its true, but some are moving right.  Howard Dean is presented as a liberal for opposing the war, but if you look at his record he is quite a centrist, a deficit hawk as opposed to a big spender, and he wasn't the one pushing civil unions in Vermont.

        Stop drinking the Faux News Kool-Aid.

        •  Oops (none)
          I mean to say "Harry Reid does not support abortion"
          •  Correction (none)
            I gemerally meant those who speak here at forum, as well as such leaders as Nancy Pelosy. With leaders like that - do we need an enemies?
          •  And some more details (none)
            I looked at Planned Parenthood ratings - they usually consider Reid a sort of "moderate" on abortion - neither supports, nor viciously opposes. Just like Arlen Specter or even Ted Stevens in Republican party. The only one solid anti-abortion Senator now (after John Breaux retirement) is, probably, Ben Nelson of Nebraska. The only solidly anti-abortion Democratic Governor - Kathleen Blanco in Louisiana. The anti-abortion Democratic faction in House - about 20-30 members. All numbers are approximately the same as for pro-choice Republicans in corresponding bodies (except Governors - there are considerably more pro-choice Republican Governors then pro-life Democratic). So the "mirror similarity" of 2 parties, which i mentioned before, continues. The "mirror reflection" of Newt will be Nancy, and so on...

            It's the first time i hear, that Casey refused to support Clinton-Gore. All previous papers on that matter quoted as a reason his strongly antiabortion views... I will check the details..

            •  Indirectly (none)
              Indirectly, it was Casey's pro-life views that got him booted, because those views led him to not endorse Clinton.  But if he had endorsed Clinton, I think its quite likely he would have been given a chance to speak.

              Kerry would not have asked Zell Miller to speak at this years DNC, nor should we have expected him too.

              Most of the places you read about Casey are right wing sites looking to pick a fight, and sadly they seem to lack the intellectual honesty to even mention the endorsement issue.  I've seen quite a few sarcastic references to disallowing Casey to speak at a 'unified' convention, those articles universally fail to mention that Casey himself refused to be unify with his party behind his parties candidate, despite agreeing on many other issues.  They also mention that he tried to give an anti-abortion speech at the time of the 1992 convention, sponsored by the Village Voice, but was drowned out by a minority of the audience; what they fail to point out what that his speech was sponsored by one of the most liberal papers in the country, and the audience was mostly respectful - and their are certainly disrespectful extremists on both sides, especially when someone is slamming the standard-bearer of his own party.

              Popular GOP moderates were allowed to speak at the RNC this year, but only ones that backed the candidate; Lincoln Chafee was not on the podium, and neither Schwarzenegger nor Guiliani were allowed to discuss their views on abortion, nor gay rights and the environment.

              Beofre you spread right-wing talking points, you should make sure they are accurate and in context.

              •  Disagree (none)
                First - i DO have a right on any views, leftwing, moderate or rightwing: it's a democracy - don't it? You may disagree with me, but you must at least tolerate my views, don't you? Otherwise you are not too different from republican wingnuts, isn't it? I repeat - i read many times about Casey affair in respectable press, so i will check out one more time and come to my own conclusion i will trust. I didn't asked for Zell Miller to be allowed to speak this year, but i will continue to state that most democratic "activists" are no more tolerable of opposite views, then their republican "wingnut" colleagues (BTW - during Republican convention everyone knew Arnie's and Rudy's views on abortion and gay rights - and they were very warmly received nevertheless). Try to say in Bay Area that you are a pro-life and pro-gun Democrat - and you immediately become pariah. Just as it would be in Georgia suburbs if you would introduce himself before local audience as pro-choice and pro-gay righs Republican. Reaction is basically the same: "get out of our party!". Both parties still have sizable moderate factions, but both are led (mainly) by the people on the extreme of political spectrum. For me (moderate) many are simple "mirror images" of their opposites... So i don't admire neither right-wing "nuts" nor left-wing "activists". Both are too singleminded (and "simpleminded") for my tastes...
  •  National Review Online spelled it out (none)
    48 hours after the election...

    GOP to Flush it's moderate Senators ?

    From a conservative mail list : Flush the moderates out of GOP Senate: Better a lost seat than a RINO (Republican in Name Only)

    Hold your nose for a minute please. You need to read this and show your pro-life friends..
    We reelected the worst Republican Senator, and still lost Pennsylvania.

    Rick Santorum and George W. Bush told us that the GOP needed Arlen Specter. We needed Arlen Specter to deliver Pennsylvania for Bush. ..

    Santorum and Bush were wrong. They were wrong morally, and they were wrong politically. These men saved the man who saved Roe v. Wade, and now the costs to the pro-life cause, the conservative movement, and the Republican party -- for so little benefit -- could be deep and long-lasting.

    Pennsylvania was always a stretch for Bush... Specter's unhelpfulness on the presidential level also showed itself in some very concrete and visible ways.

    Most striking were the 'Kerry and Specter for Working Families' signs posted around Southeastern Pennsylvania.. The signs were created, paid for, and posted by a 527 created by Roger Stone, chairman of Specter's 1996 presidential campaign.

    Second, losing Specter's seat to a Democrat would not have been all bad. A top Republican Senator, in explaining his difficulty in winning votes in the upper chamber, recently told a crowd, 'I only have 51 votes -- really only 47.' That was an admission that Specter -- like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Lincoln Chafee -- is a Republican in Name Only Hoeffel would not have detracted from Bill Frist's functional majority.

    Daily Kos :: Comments Open Thread #96

    For 56 millions of us Americans .. WAR is a moral issue

    by lawnorder on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 03:37:36 PM PST

    •  Nov 3rd actually.. (none)
      Sheesh! Democracy's body wasn't even cold yet and the vultures were already squabbling for the spoils!

      Timothy P. Carney on Arlen Specter & Election 2004 on National Review Online: "November 03, 2004, 10:05 a.m.
      Thank You, Arlen
      We reelected the worst Republican Senator, and still lost Pennsylvania.

      Rick Santorum and George W. Bush told us that the GOP needed Arlen Specter. We needed Arlen Specter to deliver Pennsylvania for Bush. We needed Arlen Specter to boost the party in the Keystone State. We needed Arlen Specter to keep the Senate majority."

      For 56 millions of us Americans .. WAR is a moral issue

      by lawnorder on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 03:42:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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