Friday, August 13, 2021

Nine Angry Dems

Nine moderate Democrats are trying to tank Joe Biden's strategy for passing his signature social policy package by demanding it be decoupled from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Their reasons are not exactly compelling, and they have a lot less leverage than normal in circumstances like this because they don't have a cost-free "...or we walk" option (doing that would imperil the infrastructure bill they very much do support).

Notably, while this letter is identified with the party "moderates", it doesn't include some of the more high-profile members of the "moderate" wing of the party -- folks like Elissa Slotkin, Abigail Spanberger, or Lauren Underwood. Indeed, nine names is a rather infirm showing. So who are the Dems that did sign on? Are they "usual suspect" sorts, or surprises? Here's the list:
  • Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey
  • Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia
  • Filemon Vela of Texas
  • Jared Golden of Maine
  • Henry Cuellar of Texas
  • Vicente Gonzalez of Texas
  • Ed Case of Hawaii
  • Jim Costa of California
  • Kurt Schrader of Oregon
Rep. Gottheimer is at the helm of the "Problem Starters Solvers Caucus," and this sort of letter has his fingerprints all over it -- the only signatories who aren't part of the cause are Reps. Vela and Case (though again it's perhaps more notably how few PSC members signed (not even a third, by my count). Case has always been far too moderate for the deep blue hue of Hawaii; I don't know too much about Vela (or Rep. Gonzalez). Bourdeaux is a freshman congresswoman and a rare R-to-D House flip in 2020; she represents a swingy district but I still expect better. Reps. Golden and Schrader broke from the Democratic Caucus to vote against the American Rescue Plan Act because it was too generous to too many Americans -- they've already proven themselves capable of being chaos muppets. Rep. Cuellar is one of the worst Democrats in the House -- I sincerely hope he meets the same second-times-the-charm fate as Dan Lipinski and gets ousted by Jessica Cisneros in their rematch. Jim Costa likewise seems to be completely taking his seat for granted in California -- but hey, maybe he won't have a seat anymore after redistricting!

So basically, of all the people on this letter, the only one who maybe I care about listening to is Bourdeaux -- possibly Vela too, but I doubt it. In all, though, this is a stupid push on behalf of bad politics, and the Democratic leadership should tactfully but firmly tell them to suck on a root.

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