Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tuesday is D Day And Then Wednesday

Which is D Day Too

Posted by olvlzl

If Democrats take the House of Representatives next week there are already some good plans in place. Nancy Pelosi and some other Democrats in Congress have some ready to go that don’t need the approval of the Senate or the executive. They could be put into effect by the House alone. Some of these are outlined in a press release from May of 2005, largely ignored by the media. There are some good ideas in it for cleaning up the accretions of corruption that have been building up for twelve years under conservative Republicans. Among other things it calls for these six principles:

* Ban Members from accepting any gifts from lobbyists.

* Ban Members from secretly working with corporate lobbyists to write legislation.

* Ban lobbying by Members of Congress and high level staff for two years after leaving Congress.

* Enforce the ban on Members and staff soliciting privately-funded travel.

* Ban lobbyists from arranging and financing travel.

* End the 'K Street Project' - ban Members and staff from threatening lobbyists with official actions.

In an article in the Washington Post last week other likely changes were mentioned. There is one in particular that is dear to my heart:

Pelosi would deprive lawmakers-turned-lobbyists of a few of their congressional perks. She would eliminate the House rule that gives access to the House gym, the House floor and its cloak rooms to former members of Congress who are registered to lobby -- access that was temporarily taken away earlier this year.

If Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats get the chance to put these and other rules changes into effect it could have an huge impact on more than the just the tone in Washington but not without a lot of work from the rest of us.

When the media can’t ignore House Democrats anymore we have to be ready to support all of their efforts at rescuing democracy over the feigned skepticism and cynicism of the Republicans and their media sound box. We have to be ready to tout all of these proposals and other reforms, to pressure our representatives and Senators to adopt them and to keep it up. If the Republicans still control the Senate we will have to try to shame them into adopting similar reforms. Our best bet would be to exert maximum pressure on the alleged "moderate" Republicans and conservative Democrats in the Senate. Getting over the institutional inertia of the Senate patricians will take a concerted effort.

Even if Democrats take both houses of Congress it will be the beginning of our work. Overturning the corruption that the Republicans and their media have put into place is going to take years, maybe decades, but there isn’t any alternative but to keep trying. We have to take full advantage of every opportunity no matter how small it looks or how hopeless it seems. Our discouragement, on full display on leftist blog comment threads, is one of the most potent weapons of the Republican establishment.

Getting the elections done honestly is the first priority. It seems that we have a real chance to win those and if we do we have to hit the ground immediately. And we are going to have to keep the pressure up, on the Republicans more than anyone, on the Senate Democrats and any recalcitrant Democrats in the House. But I’m expecting that under Pelosi they will be the first to want to act.

What if Republicans win? The struggle continues. Giving up is not an option.