Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Looking Beyond Pelosi, Hoyer And Clyburn For A New Generation Of House Leaders


The video above was recorded one decade ago at the Teatro del Silenzio, in Lajatico, Tuscany, Andrea Bocelli's hometown. Pelosi had just become Speaker of the House here in America.

That was an angry and horrific comment Sunday under the post about how the clueless and dysfunctional DCCC-- and Pelosi in particular-- are mucking up Doug Applegate's race to defeat Darrell Issa in a district he nearly one in 2016. It was a real slam on Pelosi: "2 years ago I was on a Capital tour when the group was asked to 'make a hole' so that Pelosi could get from one side to the other... She was almost literally carried through by 2 male aides. She was babbling incoherently (what I heard of it, anyway) and looked and walked like Keith Richards on a 3-day bender... only not that good. And let me also opine that Pelosi may once have been an able rep for her SF district... but she could never have become the speaker nor the biggest fundraiser among the democraps if she wasn't utterly, completely, enthusiastically corrupt. She will be reviled by historians for that and her "impeachment is off the table" gamble that did win a presidency and a big house majority... for a short while. But leaving cheney in the presidency (yeah... I mean that) made us a nation of torturers and war criminals..." Harsh!

These are the ages of the top House leaders in each party:

Paul Ryan, Speaker- 47
Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader- 52
Steve Scalise, Majority Whip- 51


Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader- 76
Steny Hoyer, Minority Whip- 77
Jim Clyburn, Assistant Minority Leader- 76
That's more than a 2 decade age disparity. Take it from someone in his 60s... it makes a difference-- bigly. Politico, of course, would rather focus on discontent inside the Democratic Party than the way all factions are pulling together behind Tom Perez's election as DNC Chair, but their story yesterday about the desire among activists and rank-and-file members of Congress for real change isn't unwarranted.
The party-officer elections here over the weekend turned into a mini-convention of up-and-coming politicians, activists, and operatives straining to envision the opening days of Donald Trump’s administration and Republican domination of Washington as a moment of Democratic revitalization, not reason to sink further into the party’s roiling existential crisis.

Quietly-- and pointedly refusing to attach their names to the musings-- they talk about starting to look past the all over-70-years-old leadership team of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn in the House of Representatives. Some hope, wistfully, the three will step aside before the 2018 midterms to help send a message and generate new ideas. And as much as they like the idea of Chuck Schumer’s expanded Senate leadership team, they can’t help noticing how few of the body’s younger rising stars are included. They’re tired of Capitol Hill denizens staking their claim as the only leaders in the party, particularly as Trump’s political upheaval continues to echo throughout their ranks.

“We have to prepare a farm team within Congress, in our states, in local races. I don’t know when we became the party only of people who have been there for decades,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the 46-year-old running for re-election who flew here to help nominate Perez and two other officer candidates. “We have to be aware of the energy that is all around us right now, not just on Facebook, but on our streets.

" ...Milling through the hallways of the Atlanta Westin Peachtree Plaza, the party operatives were far more blunt about the need for a broader change in direction.

“Absolutely, the fact that Nancy has held on forever and stifled a younger age group, it’s a thing, it’s absolutely a thing,” said one longtime state party official, pointing to the new crop of elected officials that includes four new vice chairs under the age of 50 as evidence that a new wave is coming. “That’s what you’re seeing here, it’s a new push."

“There’s been no movement for 10 years, maybe more,” he said. “It’s got people frustrated."

“Politics and time have a way of resolving a bunch of issues on their own,” added former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, advocating a turn to leaders with the luxury of years’ worth of work ahead of them.

The party’s three-day meeting here, accordingly, was a demonstration of the membership’s eagerness to move on, not only from an election cycle that saw a 68-year-old candidate defeat a 74-year-old candidate in their presidential primary-- only to lose to a 70-year-old Republican-- but from an entire era.

Donna Brazile, a veteran of Democratic fights from the 1990s and earlier-- and the party’s interim chairwoman until Perez took over on Saturday-- peppered the proceedings with reminders of how eager she was to get on with the election, insisting it’s time for a fresh face and perspective to take the reins.

And few of the party’s entrenched leaders showed up in Atlanta: none of the House or Senate leadership team came, and even hometown civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis, 77, was a no-show.

Instead, the weekend belonged to a younger crowd desperate to move beyond the doom and gloom and start talking about winning over new voters skeptical of the Democratic brand.

“Why am I here? Why am I here talking at you when you’re probably ready to vote by now? Because I am here to tell you that our party has an incredibly bright future,” said former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, 35, in his keynote address on Saturday. “I’m here to tell you that a nightmare that is a Trump presidency is just a speed bump on our journey to liberty and justice as a country."

One day earlier, the session’s main speaker was California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 59-years-old but embarking on a new role as an anti-Trump warrior. The night before that saw Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, 43, widely regarded as a big part of the party’s future in the state, address the crowd.

Saturday’s election was punctuated by the exit from the race of South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 35, whose closing message-- to a crowd that included a crop of new party chairs from states like Washington, Iowa, Hawaii, and Nebraska, who have swept into power by replacing older rivals in the last few months-- was about the imperative of the party to move ahead.

It’s not that any of the crop of up-and-comers is secretly plotting to replace Pelosi and Co. anytime soon-- especially not after seeing Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan fail in that quest in December. Pelosi-- a major fundraiser and veteran of many midterm fights-- moved after that challenge to elevate younger faces within the House leadership structure.
No mention in Politico, of course, that many the younger people they reference-- Kander is a great example, as is Ryan-- are even more conservative and inadequate than the Pelosi era leaders. Age is a factor, not THE factor. Bernie's from the same era as the Pelosi crew but his ideas aren't. Yes, Bernie is nearly as old as Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn but his mind is more deft than any of them and his agenda is more in touch with the new century than all of them combined. Bernie is more than double the age of Jason Kander but Jason Kander's politics are based on a timid and outmoded conservative perspective that is what's gotten the Democratic Party into trouble. He could learn a lot from Bernie. Tim Ryan is at least as bad as Kander, if not worse. Even when Debenedetti and Dovere, the reporters, mention "ideas," the skip right over the whole concept, almost dismissively: "[M]any feel the imperative of facilitating the younger wind blowing through the party," they wrote. "It’s out with the old ideas that have seen the party sink to its lowest point in decades, and in with the new, even if those ideas aren’t yet fully formed." And-- boom, they were back to yammering about peoples' ages.

As for the DCCC, now that Steve Israel (age 58 but with ideas of a 158 year old) is finally gone-- he left Congress in a deal to avoid a criminal investigation-- the committee charged with electing Democrats to Congress has just decentralized a bit by electing 5 regional vice chairs:
Joe Kennedy- 36
Jared Polis- 41
Ted Lieu- 47
Don McEachin- 55
Betty McCollum- 62
With the exception of McCollum, a sop to Pelosi, none of them are from the 1950s generation and they are all, to one degree or another somewhat progressive. Lieu is an independent-minded, free-thinking super progressive. Joe Kennedy is far more cautious and timid but has managed to accrue a 90.51 Progressive Punch crucial vote score. McCollum's is good as well-- 88.98. ProgressivePunch takes Polis a "D" but he's a mixed bag-- as good as anyone on social issues and a bit of a reactionary when it comes to bread and butter economic issues. McEachin is a freshman who joined the Progressive Caucus but hasn't taken enough votes yet to establish a discernible pattern. I need to learn more about him.

DWT and Blue America supported Keith Ellison for DNC chairman but we were concerned that his leadership in Congress would be hard to replace. Now's the time to look beyond the Pelosi era and start easing in a better crop of dedicated leaders, like Ellison. NOT like corrupt old school New Dems like Wasserman Schultz and Joe Crowley, the two who are working furiously-- backed by lobbyist scum and big donors-- to position themselves to take over. Who would we like to see move up the leadership ladder more rapidly? Based on proven leadership abilities, as well as policy vision:
Keith Ellison
Ted Lieu
Pramila Jayapal
Mark Pocan
Barbara Lee
Raul Grijalva
Jamie Raskin
Judy Chu
Matt Cartwright
Ruben Gallego
And ambitious conservative members essential to block from rising into top leadership: Wasserman Schultz, Joe Crowley, Jim Himes, Kyrsten Sinema, Seth Moulton, Denny Heck, Kathleen Rice, Cheri Bustos and Derek Kilmer.

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At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Gallego should run for Flake's seat in 2018. ICE is going to be nastier and nastier, someone who is a true progressive and can speak to the vulnerable community in Arizona would be able to win.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, thank you for including (most of) my reply to a previous post. You left out the good part, but whatever.

Second, I've always found it a bit peculiar that house Rs tend to turn over more often... or maybe it's just the effect of the teabagger mini-coup. Not sure of the dynamic there... but also the quality of the newbie Rs has gotten more and more dismal over time. And it seems the dumbfucktardiest and most evil ones stay while those less so tend to be supplanted by worser ones.

On the D side, however, it's very much tenure and corruption based. The more you raise (on your knees or on your back... matters not) the faster your star rises. The longer you stick around, regardless of merit, the faster your star rises. And, of course, if you are very very corrupt your chances to build tenure are greater.

As we've seen also, the less liberal and progressive you are, the much more likely you are to get $upport from the DxCCs and DNC.

One name is notably missing -- John Conyers, who spiked Kucinich's articles of impeachment vs. cheney and gonzalez under orders from Pelosi. He's still there (since 1965). Why wasn't his name mentioned? Not corrupt enough?

Pelosi/hoyer/cliburn won't resign. If Ds get the house at some point, maybe someone will run against Pelosi for speaker... but she'll still win. She raises soooo much money and dishes it out so carefully that she'll, again, buy her speakershit. Provided she lives long enough to see another D majority.

What's more, the yoooooge donors don't WANT Pelosi to go anywhere. With her (and team) they know their money is well spent and their concerns will be protected.
She's been betraying her voters, violating her oath of office and protecting the money's concerns for over 3 decades.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I largely agree with this post, there are a couple of assumptions/assertions made, that bear little relation to reality.

First, Bernie's ideas are not just older than the New Dems', there is in fact, no indication that they are popular outside the progressive wing of the Dems/Greenies/assorted lefties. What little data there is, indicates that his campaign's (relative) success was more to do with an anti-establishment sentiment and personal 'authenticity'/incorruptibility rather than policy. Hence the primary exit polls/other surveys that showed Clinton voters favoring marginally more liberal policies, and willingness to pay higher taxes - as well as the phenomenon of Bernie-Gary Johnson voters. It's a strange stance to take, that brute force dogma is in touch with the new century when the one notable thing about millennials is how non-ideological they are.

Second, comparing Bernie's politics in Vermont or to Kander's in MO is unfair to the point of being blatantly dishonest. Had Bernie spent his entire career in MO or KS, his record would be vastly, and substantially different. He'd either be successful with a notably more conservative agenda - or in an entirely different line of work altogether.

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:07, I truly believe you misunderestimate both millenials and the electorate at large, left of center.

Anyone who owes for life or shall do so for their college degree loved his free college issue. Everyone who was affected or knows someone who was affected by the bank fraud crash loved his bank reform issue. And that's just about everyone in the lower 99%.
Everyone who hates arbitrary war, torture and extrajudicial incarcerations and murders loved him.
Anyone touched by xxFTAs loved him.
All 20 million who lost manufacturing jobs permanently since clinton loved him.
NB: The stupid ones also liked drumpf's lies on that topic.
Anyone who can do simple math (granted, probably a small minority of americans) knows that taxes need to be raised on the wealthy A LOT, if just for the sake of the debt. But those of us who understand why 1932 - 1979 were more stable than either before or after know that those high taxes do one thing that is needed now more than ever -- it disincentivises greed. CEOs start looking out for the long-term viability of their concerns rather than how to quickly extract the maximum amount from their personal mints. And so forth.

Millenials may be less doctrinaire than their elders, but they still know (or should) that right-wing policies, whether done by Rs or Ds or both, hurt and kill people... and makes more people poor and the poor are the first to die.

The anti-establishment thing is valid. And then Bernie blew up the authenticity thing when he turtled and then endorsed the anti-Bernie. And a measurable number of Bernie voters were simply anti-$hillbillary, for good reason.

I believe that virtually all of them would have voted for Bernie in the general, plus many more unaffiliateds would have joined the fray for Bernie too.

Only someone as awful as $hillbillary could inspire a lefty to vote for der fuhrer. Bernie would not have so inspired anyone.


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