Lawmakers Use Policy Committee to Investigate Issues They Say GOP Ignores
C-SPAN viewers tuning in yesterday morning might have thought they misread the results of November’s elections.
There was Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.) — a Democrat — wielding a gavel and calling to order a hearing on Iraq contracts. Dorgan presided over a wood-paneled Senate hearing room, complete with water pitchers on the witness table, nameplates for the committee members, and C-SPAN 1 — live!
But, paying closer attention, the viewers might have noticed that there were no Republicans on the panel, no administration officials at the witness table, and only two Democratic senators in the room. Then, the viewer might have surmised, correctly, that this was not a real committee hearing.
These are frustrating times for the Democratic Party, shut out of power in the White House, the House and the Senate. Democrats don’t have power to call hearings, to subpoena witnesses or to move legislation.
But they still have the power to raise a ruckus. And one of their best vehicles for raising a ruckus is the Democratic Policy Committee, a taxpayer-funded entity established by law and given the power to hold meetings, pay for witnesses’ travel and, on a good day, get coverage from C-SPAN.
Now, some of you might expect me to mock these people as desperate goofballs talking to themselves… You’d be wrong… Very Wrong.
The Dems stole this technique from none other than Newt Gingrich. For a few years Newt and other Republicans (who where then in the minority party) took advantage of the fact that “Special Orders” were televised on C-SPAN.
Newt and company would use the free air time to bypass the media and bring their message directly to the American people. For years they ranted and raved in an empty chamber. Viewers at home didn’t know, all they knew was that the Republicans were nailing Democrats for their egregiously unethical behavior.
I shouldn’t have to remind you it worked.
Being in the minority party sucks. But the answer is not gay bashing and spewing hatred. The answer is working one voter at a time to convince them your side is right. Luckily only about 7 Democrats in the country get this.
I think it will be far less effective this time. Back then, C-SPAN was new and many people (especially those on the right) flocked to it. Now, with the advent of talk radio and the internet, C-SPAN is diluted. Also the Republicans had a strong message, just no way to get it out, the Dems have no such message today. But it is still the right thing for them to do.
As I said, being in the minority party sucks. But the ONLY way to gain the majority is hard work. At least a handful of Dems have started the heavy lifting.
AND BTW- Some delusional nitwit accused me of being “scared” of the Gannon story. If I were to worry about anything the Dems were doing, it would be things like this and not gay bashing, that works for the Republicans. I just hope the Nitwits keep running the Dem party.