Chris Cillizza is not quite gobsmacked:
Nine days ago, Democrats lost (at least) eight of their seats and their majority in the Senate. On the House side, the party dipped to at their lowest level — in terms of raw number of seats held — since World War II. How did the party react to this rejection from the American public? By preparing to re-elect every single one of their top Congressional leaders, of course!
…but he can see gobsmacked from where he currently sits. Basically, the Democrats are not going to change their leadership cadre. This despite the utter disaster that befell the legislative branch of their party last week, mind you; and it’s not just that the Democrats lost the Senate and got rocked back on their heels in the House. It’s that Democrats in the state legislatures likewise got hammered. I don’t believe in permanent Republican majorities than I believed in permanent Democratic ones, but one of the major things standing in the way of a new Democratic majority is their leadership cadre. Robert Tracinski over at the Federalist noted that the Democratic party’s recruitment successes collapsed when it became clear that all those new, shiny Red State Democrats were there to rubber stamp urban liberal Democratic agendas. As long as the people who support that agenda still run the Democratic party, moving the needle again is going to be hard for the Democratic rank-and-file.
Now, at this point you’re thinking to yourself Moe: you’re not explaining why Pelosi or Reid are still in Congress. When Denny Hastert lost the Speakership in 2006, he quit the leadership and resigned the next year. Bill Frist didn’t even try to run for re-election in 2006 (and never mind ‘term limits’). Why are the Democrats hanging on like this? Pelosi should have resigned in 2009! [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] should be telling everybody that he’s retiring after this term!
It’s a natural reaction, largely because that’s what the Democrats should do. Then again, the assumption here is that Congressional Democrats actually have a long-term plan. It will surprise many people that they actually do not:
A few Democratic voices, mostly party professionals whose job is winning elections, have said the donkey herd that just ran off the cliff needs to rethink its sense of direction. No one is listening to them. Most Democrats, especially the left that took control of the party in 2008, deny any problem. And well they might. There is no Plan B.
Largely because [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ] and her remaining House caucus didn’t actually, and probably still doesn’t, really need one. [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ]’s appeal is that she brings in the cash, and that’s all that matters. Cash means quashing primary upstarts and coasting to election in safe districts. Senate Democrats might theoretically have to embrace reality more tightly, but up until this moment Senate Democrats were relying rather heavily on their ability to re-elect their incumbent Senators. It’s not yet clear that [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] and his colleagues understand in their bones yet that the situation has changed.
So that’s why they’re all staying in their current leadership positions. As to why their supporters are letting them? …Well. It’s not exactly a political party that really rewards independent thinking, you know what I mean? Besides, a good, solid internal purge might interfere with whatever Two Minutes’ Hate the Democratic party leadership has scheduled this week.
Moe Lane (crosspost)