Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Some good people get good Dem Senate committee slots -- but then there are also those other people


Yes, Senator Warren is getting that Banking Committee slot!

by Ken

It reminds me of nothing so much as the day when solons of college fraternities break the good news to such of their incoming hopefuls which of them have made the grade and will be received unto the elect. With, maybe a few differences.

(1) When it comes to apportioning committee slots to Senate Democrats for the 114th Congress, there's only one solon: Majority Leader Harry Reid. Today, as you probably know, was the day when Leader Harry Reid manned the phones spreading the good news. I don't know how many of these calls he actually makes himself, but I'm guessing he probably gravitates toward the ones that will be perceived by the recipients as good news -- i.e., committee assignments that they actually want. Except maybe in cases where he's trying to deliver not so much bad news as a "message" -- you know, the way the House Republicans did the other day to some of their stunned minions. But that doesn't sound so much like our Harry, does it?

(2) Those fraternity pledge results aren't usually accompanied by press releases. I had this idea earlier that I would get hold of some master list of the new committee assignments, but I couldn't find any such list. Instead what I found was mostly press releases, and news "stories" apparently based on the press releases, trumpeting the happy news of senators-elect as well as sitting senators (Leader Harry's Majority Megaphone also spread word of reshuffled committee assignments for present members of the team).

(3) There's also the associated caution that today's tidings aren't exactly final. First, it's always noted that the actual committee assignments are made by vote of the Senate Democratic caucus. These are, presumably just Leader Harry's "recommendations." Second, it's pointed out that committee assignments can't be considered final because the Dem-to-R committee ratios based on the new alignment of the Senate have yet to be worked out. (I assume this is accomplished via a series of grueling team challenges, like three-legged races, tugs of war, and so on.)

Meanwhile, let's not soft-pedal the good news. You probably also got this e-mail via Daily Kos earlier today:

Just moments ago, I received a call from Sen. Harry Reid’s office, confirming my position on the Senate Banking Committee in January.

I appreciate the faith that Leader Reid has put in me to take this assignment, and I am looking so forward to playing a role in Congressional oversight over big banks on Wall Street and the banking agencies in Washington. Middle class families need more watchdogs in Washington that will try to hold the big guys accountable and to stop bad deals for the American people. I’m ready to help.

Please join me in thanking Leader Harry Reid for this incredible opportunity.

Over the years, your faith in my work has strengthened me. You donated to my election campaign, you made phone calls to help identify volunteers and get out the vote in Massachusetts, and you pushed hard again and again to put wind in my sails in every way imaginable so that I could take on the big guys.

Against the odds, you helped give me a real shot at winning.

You’ve been there for me since the beginning, and I’m so grateful. This is how real change happens – we do it together.

Of course, fighting for the middle class means more than talk or strongly worded emails. It means across-the-board, consistent accountability for anyone who breaks the law — no matter where they work or who their friends are. And that’s what we’re going to work hard to accomplish.

But before we get started, please join me in thanking Leader Reid for his giving me this incredible opportunity.

I’ve taken on Wall Street banks and other powerful interests for years, and, with your help, I’ll continue to do so for many years to come.

Thank you for being a part of this, and keep fighting!

There are things I don't understand about this e-mail, like why it's so important that we click on the links to pay homage to Leader Harry. Is the idea that he will be so impressed as to revise his opinion that all those far-left cyberkooks are pawns of Satan, and are really well-brung-up citizens who know how to write a "thank you" note, or anyways click into one? That's not going to happen, is it? My only other theory is that it's mostly a Daily Kos list-building exercise. (I also wonder about the DONATE button that follows the signature "Elizabeth." I chose not to pursue this question.)

But the news is the real thing: that MA Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren is indeed getting that slot on the Senate Banking Committee that we all wanted her to have, that spoke after all to the reason we thought it so important that she be elected, over the vociferous objection of the Wall Street crowd. How often do we get to see them get their worst nightmare?

For the record, Senator Warren will also have "positions on committees dealing with health and aging."

Other good news: WI's new senator, Tammy Baldwin, is headed for Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs; the Special Committee on Aging; and Budget -- committees that seem to fit her interests well.

But then there are announcements like the plum assignments for Maine's "Independent" senator, Angus King. Are we supposed to cheer the good news for that slug?

Or there's news that WV's Joe Manchin is also headed for Banking. (Small technical point: When the D-to-R ratio is established, which side does he count on?) Fortunately, it doesn't exactly offset the Elizabeth Warren news. After all, when palookas like Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner and his to-be-named successor are forced to bear witness before the committee, will they reflect more on having to face Senator Joe or Senator Elizabeth?


. . . when we have the actual committee assignment list.

Or maybe not.

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At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "tell Harry you like me" button establishes that I have a fan base I can activate. Always a good thing to have in political power calculations.

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