Weekly Standard writer Matthew Continetti offers this analysis of the Democratic takeover of Congress:
“Over the next two years, there will be two Democratic parties. The congressional Democratic party will investigate the Bush administration and pass as much center-left legislation as possible. The presidential Democratic party, meanwhile-comprising aspirants to the executive office, senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Russ Feingold, and Barack Obama; former senator John Edwards; governors Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack; perhaps Al Gore-will travel the country, raising money, holding debates, and laying the groundwork for a national campaign that might put one of them in the White House and (they hope) result in an era of unified Democratic control of government.”
The congressional Democratic Party will try to make as much trouble as possible for G.W. Bush, says Continetti, while the presidential Dems will try to look centrist. And here’s Continetti’s prediction:
“On election eve, on the Huffington Post, Pelosi outlined an agenda for the 110th Congress. It includes enacting all the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, raising the minimum wage, requiring the government to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, passing another stem cell research bill, ’cutting interest rates for student loans in half,’ cutting the tax credits and other subsidies that go to the oil companies, and ’fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security.’ The agenda lacks any call for immediate ’redeployment’ of troops from Iraq. It says nothing about the Patriot Act or the domestic surveillance program. It ignores the looming nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran.
“And that might be the best thing for the Democrats. One liberal columnist told me last week his hope that the Democratic majority would spend the next two years more or less ignoring national security while holding hearings and passing bills addressing what political scientist Jacob Hacker calls the ’great risk shift’-the economic dislocations wrought by globalization that have done so much to make voters pessimistic about the American economy. In this scenario, a rise in the minimum wage, student debt relief, and other small economic reforms enacted by the congressional Democrats would strengthen the case of the presidential Democrats.
“The 2008 Democratic presidential nominee would then have room to tack right on national security, leading her to victory. The Democrats would have unified control of government for the first time since 1993. And remember how well things worked out for them then?”