Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How much confidence do you have in Congressional Democrats?

Josh Marshall,

I'm not sure it's quite that the Dems have nothing to fear but fear itself. But it is a classic case where they're only really in trouble if they lose their nerve, freak out and listen to the voices telling them to pull the plug on reform. It's time for buck up, shut up, pass the bill and move on...

Even if you accept JMM's analysis as true (and I'm not sure that I do) how much confidence do any of us have in Congressional Democrats ability to actually behave in this manner? This seems to me to be calling for Congressional Dems to behave in a manner that is utterly foreign to many in the caucus. This caucus behaves like a beaten puppy, with a learned helplessness whenever the GOP and its allies make a lot of noise - no matter how nonsensical that noise may be. A massive defeat for Coakley tonight is going to scare the living hell out of many in the Democratic caucus.

In the Senate I'm anxious to see what Lieberman's response is, he can grab a lot of attention if he plays his Sensible Centrist role and cautions against an expediated path. I imagine Ben Nelson is sweating right now.

In the House we'll see obnoxious grandstanding by Blue Dogs and maybe even from some "progressives" about the need to halt reform in light of the election. Jared Polis anyone?

I hope that Coakley wins and this is all moot and I'm far from panicked about the race or even the viability of reform should Brown win. That said it's going to be very ugly if Brown wins - the media is salivating and the GOP will crank up the message machine full bore. Democrats don't exactly have a history of handling themselves well in these situations.

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