Pelosi Lives the LBJ Prophecy

After the Johnson landslide in 1964, the congressional democrats enjoyed astromical majorities.  President Johnson, a child of Capital Hill, called his folks together and said they had to get all their major legislation passed within six months, and their critical legislation passed within a year.  His aides saw the huge majorities, and asked why.  LBJ explained that a huge majority meant a wide variety of interests were represented in the Democratic caucus, and that sooner or later these differences would cause the huge caucus to splinter.

LBJ called that one on the head.  12 months later the legislative consensus, buffeted by Vietnam on the one side and competing domestic interests on the other, began to fall apart…18 months later members were running for reelection…and 24 months later the GOP had won back 47 seats and the huge majority was gone.

It seems Speaker Pelosi has the same problems with a much smaller majority, but on a different front.

Today’s Washington Post describes how Liberal bloggers are setting their sights on Democratic Representative Ellen Tauscher. Tauscher is from a California district next to San Francisco. Despite her high ratings from traditional democratic groups and her zero rating from the NRA, she is apparently not pure enough on the Iraq Fandango to satisfy Das Kos and others in the Ned Lamont wing of the Democratic Party.

The article suggests

The anti-Tauscher backlash illustrates how the Democratic takeover has energized and emboldened the party’s liberal base, ratcheting up the pressure on the party’s moderates.

The Kos is quoted in the article as promising:

“a vicious fight for her seat.” He’s often portrayed as a raving ideologue, but he’s really a savvy strategist; he has no problem supporting conservative Democrats in conservative districts, such as new Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.). But he sees no need to tolerate a DLC type in Tauscher’s district, where Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) received 58 percent of the presidential vote in 2004.

Later in the article Steve Rosenthal, founder of the liberal Working for Us PAC, is quoted:

“We’re not going to the Heath Shulers of the world and saying, ‘We want you to be more like Barney Frank”

I see…Kos, Rosenthal, and their lefty fellows have no problem with a conservative Democrat if that is what is needed to win a district, but in a district they see as liberal they think it imperative to take on a Democratic incumbent.

Well, that clears that up. Apparently it is not about representative democracy, it is not even about ideology, it is about pure power. If we need you to win a district, we will back you not matter what. Looks like Kos and DeLay have much more in common than many will admit.

It should be an interesting time for the Speaker as she tries to keep her majority functioning at the same time centrist members of her caucus have to protect themselves from bushwhackers in rive gauche portion of the party.

Read the article…if this piece is even half right, it shows that the Republican Party is not the only political party at war with itself.

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4 thoughts on “Pelosi Lives the LBJ Prophecy

  1. As I recall, the Democrats had 75 of the 100 US Senate seats after LBJ’s landslide win over Goldwater in 1964. There was even talk that the Republican Party might be going out of existence.

    In 1965, those big Democratic majorities gave us Medicare, Medicaid, the Voting Rights Act, the “War on Poverty,” etc., etc.

  2. Consistency has never been a strong-suit of the blogs. Actually, of politics for that matter. Majorities galvanize the minorities opposition platform because they are fully aware that unity wins elections.

    Oh, and Steve, a greater percentage of the GOP voted for both the ’64 Civil Rights Act and ’65 Voting Rights Act than Democrats. If it were not for Republicans, those bills would have never passed because they did not have the support of southern Democrats.

  3. Steve is absolutely right…and they got done in the first half of the Johnson elected term…before the kittens would no longer be herded.

  4. Drifting Bear: The Republican/southern Democratic coalition in Congress blocked most of President Kennedy’s proposals, 1961-63.

    The backing of the Republican leader, Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois, was decisive in the passage of the ’64 Civil Rights Act.

    When your party has 75 of 100 votes, you don’t usually need many votes from the opposing party.

    Speaking of Republicans: it was President Reagan who signed the bills authorizing a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act and the Martin Luther King Holiday.

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