The Same Game and the Same Players in DC

Maybe this is a naive observation, but one way or another this was supposed to be a “change” election — so why are all the important names and faces in DC almost exactly the same?

House Democrats just handily re-elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi to their top spot, and averted a contested election for House Minority Whip by creating an extra leadership position. Senate Democrats are re-electing Harry Reid as majority leader, with Dick Durbin staying on as Majority Whip and Chuck Schumer still in the number three spot as caucus vice chair, although apparently he will have an expanded role overseeing the Senate majority’s communications and policy shop.

Look. I’m not passing judgment here on any of these leaders in particular — but let’s take a moment and remember that we got whupped this cycle. There are a lot of explanations for why, but the easiest one is that our leaders did not deliver results. Yes, the Great Recession would have been worse without the stimulus plans the Democrats passed, but the stimulus that did pass was fairly weak tea. We know we could have and should have done better. Healthcare reform was incredibly watered-down, to the point that the bill we passed does not resemble the benefit package voters were promised, won’t take effect for years, and was impossible to explain in a positive way. We let the opportunity for a new New Deal slip through our fingers.

Instead of avoiding internal fights at all costs, shouldn’t we be having the fights we need to have to figure out what direction we want to go in next?

With all of the pundits talking about how voters just sent a message to Washington that they’re not happy with the results, it’s kind of impressive that in both houses of congress and on both sides of the aisle, the leadership is pretty much exactly the same.

Also, check out Wonkette on this subject.