Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Family Retainers

A recent article in the New York Times noted that Speaker Pelosi and others were working hard to help retain freshman Democratic legislators, even though they haven't yet been officially sworn in! This is a wonderful move, and though Rahm Emmanuel is no longer head of the D-triple-C, it has his politically smart impramateur on it. In particular, the Dems will focus on lawmakers who may have squeaked in with narrow victory margins, including Space (replacing disgraced Bob Ney) and Tim Mahoney (took Foley's old FLA seat)

This is a simple and obvious move, but it is something many Democrats came late to. As the Times article noted, the Members have been alerted that "you are already running for Congress, again" and that they'll need to raise upwards of a million dollars just to hold their seats in two years.

Now, I'll be the first to question the two-year terms of House Members, particularly in a day an age when politicking is done mainly via expensive televison advertising, but the fact remains; it's the way the system is today and the new members have to play the game by the current rules of engagement. And that means they'll have to start making those dreaded fundraising calls ASAP.

One other aspect of this "retainment" program is to get these frosh Members some plum committee assignments, so their names can be tied to high-profile lesgislation, and (perhaps more importantly) they can bring home some pork right away. It will give them some real strong bullet points for the TV spots they'll begin running a year from now. Again. Excellent idea. It ignores the conventional wisdom about giving top committee posts to those who have survived and played the game well...but it clearly shows that the Democrats are playing as a team; ignoring individual stats so that they can get to the Super Bowl of American politics; The Presidency in '08.