Tuesday, 02 January 2007

Campaign Promises and Reality

Ken Berwitz

How do you feel about campaign promises?  Do you think they should be kept?  At least for a short time?  Maybe even the first few days?

The following excerpt is from an article in today's Washington Post (the entire article can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/01/AR2007010100784_pf.html.  The use of bold print is my idea).

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Democrats To Start Without GOP Input
Quick Passage of First Bills Sought

By Lyndsey Layton and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, January 2, 2007; A01

As they prepare to take control of Congress this week and face up to campaign pledges to restore bipartisanship and openness, Democrats are planning to largely sideline Republicans from the first burst of lawmaking.

House Democrats intend to pass a raft of popular measures as part of their well-publicized plan for the first 100 hours. They include tightening ethics rules for lawmakers, raising the minimum wage, allowing more research on stem cells and cutting interest rates on student loans.

But instead of allowing Republicans to fully participate in deliberations, as promised after the Democratic victory in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, Democrats now say they will use House rules to prevent the opposition from offering alternative measures, assuring speedy passage of the bills and allowing their party to trumpet early victories.

Nancy Pelosi , the Californian who will become House speaker, and Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, who will become majority leader, finalized the strategy over the holiday recess in a flurry of conference calls and meetings with other party leaders. A few Democrats, worried that the party would be criticized for reneging on an important pledge, argued unsuccessfully that they should grant the Republicans greater latitude when the Congress convenes on Thursday.

The episode illustrates the dilemma facing the new party in power. The Democrats must demonstrate that they can break legislative gridlock and govern after 12 years in the minority, while honoring their pledge to make the 110th Congress a civil era in which Democrats and Republicans work together to solve the nation's problems. Yet in attempting to pass laws key to their prospects for winning reelection and expanding their majority, the Democrats may have to resort to some of the same tough tactics Republicans used the past several years.

Democratic leaders say they are torn between giving Republicans a say in legislation and shutting them out to prevent them from derailing Democratic bills.

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For the past 12 years Republicans were excoriated whenever media felt that their actions were unilateral -- i.e. without Democratic input.  Now we have Democrats breaking a key campaign promise for the purpose of disallowing Republican input and doing so the first week they run the house.  Keep watching to see if media give them even a tiny fraction of the criticism Republicans were subjected to. 

Wanna take bets?


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