On the Likely Behavior of Democrats in the 110th

Former Representative (and member of the Class of ’94) Bob Barr has very interesting piece in the AJC concerning the return to the majority by the Democrats. In it he argues that theHouse Democrats won’t repeat GOP mistakes.

I think that he is correct and the entire piece is worth reading.

His conclusion is one that I share (and noted on TV Tuesday night and on a podcast Wednesday afternoon)–that the Democrats are fully aware that they are auditioning for 2008 and that the likelihood that they will behave as whackily as some have predicted is highly unlikely.

Writes Barr:

The Democrats will do everything in their power to avoid a return to second-class citizenship. They will be more likely than were the Republicans a dozen years ago to take modest steps, and to be careful lest rhetoric overtake feasible action. The goal for Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her battle-hardened team will be to spend two years laying the groundwork for further gains in 2008, and to push an agenda that will provide a solid and likely centrist platform for their party’s standard-bearer.

Now, do I think that Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid will be able to control their respective chambers totally? Clearly, the answer to that is no. And certainly the new Democratic majorities will do and say things that will drive the right-side of the Blogosphere nuts, but that’s just normal politics.

[cross-posted at PoliBlog]

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. jwb says:

    The 104th acted like dunces because they campaigned on a cynical platform in which none of the candidates believed. The major points of the Contract with America were balanced budgets, open committee procedings, term limits, and supermajority votes for tax increases. But these were not the things the 104th actually accomplished. Instead they wasted their time on dead-end investigations of conspiracy theories cooked up by the most extreme of Clinton haters. Welfare reform was about the only accomplishment the 104th can claim.

    The only way the 110th can repeat the performance of the 104th is if they are also a bunch of disingenuous fakers. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  2. just me says:

    My vote is with fakers, but I think they will continue to fake it as much as they can for the next couple of years.

  3. floyd says:

    jwb; We can only HOPE that they are disingenuous fakers. If the democrats do as they say, we are looking at the second coming of the Soviet, only with enforced perversions and no border guard.[lol]

  4. The problem is that I think they will in their heart of hearts think they are being reasonable when they do things that in turn will turn off the voters (see republicans in 1998). I don’t know if the democratic left has a worse problem in regards to the echo chamber altering reality for them than the republican right, but it is clearly a problem for them.

  5. just me says:

    I do think the voter got rather tired of the perpetual investigations during the Clinton years.

    I suspect perpetual investigations, especially with the 14 hour news cycle the way it is now, will also quickly become tiring.

    I realize that every democratic chairman wants to get a piece of the investigation, but frankly 2 or more years of investigations probably isn’t what the voters were asking for (although some of them certainly may have been).

  6. geezer says:

    A certain number of new House dems may have been moderate by dem standards, but each soon-to-be chairman was reelected by voters with the full knowledge of their liberal mindset.

    If Pelosi can tone these chairs down and get grownup business done over the next 2 years, we Repubs will be in for a hell of fight in ’08.

    Early withdrawal from Iraq, tax hikes and interminable “payback” investigations into the last 6 years of gov’t will piss off moderates and conservatives alike in both parties. Pelosi may be a lib, but she ain’t stupid.

    The sting has worn off somewhat; I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. If they screw it up, we have a chance to get back in. If they play to the center and get good things done, it’ll make our party work harder and smarter. I trust our fellow countrymen to watch, MSM or no MSM, and act accordingly when the time comes.

  7. Pug says:

    I doubt the new Democrats will repeat the same stupid mistakes of the Republicans. Unfortunately, they will probably invent some new mistakes all their own.

    Floyd, it seems the Republicans lacked border guards themselves, but they did have plenty of perversion.

  8. pocomoco says:

    “On the Likely Behavior of Democrats in the 110th”

    I just finished reading the Democrat’s agenda on the DNC’s web site for the upcoming year.

    For some reason it didn’t include ‘revenge’ as their primary agenda topic.

    It must have been an oversight on their part.