Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Areas of Influence

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Areas of Influence

Sure, it's nice to see Democrats in charge of both houses of Congress as the year begins, but we shouldn't forget that there's still that same guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There's a bit of a majority in the House, but only a majority of two (or one, depending on Tim Johnson's long-term prospects) in the Senate. Since one member of that majority is Joe Lieberman, I wouldn't say we can count on it to remain monolithic. So the House has a good chance to pass some of its agenda, but it'll likely have a harder time in the Senate. Anything that does make it out of both houses, however, faces the possibility of a veto from the Prez. It's a new dynamic, certainly, but we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves in expecting big changes in government.

We may get to see what kind of influence the Dems will be able to assert in the coming week when the Prez gives us his latest "plan for victory" in Iraq. It sure seems like he's heading toward announcing a new push of more troops into the area, but that's getting more and more opposition from the Dems as well as members of his own party. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid sent a letter advising the Prez against sending additional troops, making clear their position, but there's only so much that public opposition can do in this situation. (One of the things that letter accomplished, apparently, was to get a good laugh out of Joe Lieberman.) No one can stop whatever decision the Decider makes. Congress can attack such a plan by withholding money from the military, but that's a dicey public-relations move, and while they can control how much money goes to the military, they're not really in a position to micro-manage precisely what the military does with it. Sunday's New York Times reports that, despite some concern over the efficacy of more troops, the administration is moving ahead with the broad strokes even while still finessing some of the details. The Washington Post, on the other hand, focuses more on the opposition to the plan but has no indication that it will have any substantial affect on the Prez's plans.

The Dems are back in town, but how affective will their influence be?


At 2:54 PM, January 08, 2007, Anonymous Greg Morrow said...

One of the best strategies the Democrats can pursue is, I think, passing as much popular, progressive legislation as they can for the President to veto. He looks obstructionist, they look like the party of the people, it smooths things going into the open election of 2008.


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