A growing number of Senate Democrats are anxious about the lack of a Democratic budget and the unusually slow legislative agenda, creating another headache for Majority Leader Harry Reid as he tries to protect his majority ahead of a daunting election year.
“On the budget front, I’m not a happy camper around here,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein told POLITICO. “I think we need to have a budget that we stand by.”
...The concerns may amount to just grumbling among the rank and file, but they point to the catch-22 for Reid: If he’s too ambitious, he’ll force Democrats to take tough votes that could backfire in 2012. But now that he’s taken on a decidedly thin agenda, some Democrats are getting restless.
By all means, Politico, tell us more about Democrats' complicated political calculus:
Reid spokesman Jon Summers said Democrats agree they need to defer to Vice President Joe Biden, who is holding bipartisan meetings to cut spending “without undermining our economic recovery.”
“There’s broad consensus among our caucus that we [should] do nothing to undermine or distract from that,” Summers said. But for now, the uncertainty in the budget process has caused the most angst among Democratic senators.
How noble of Democrats. They would offer their own plan, you see, but they don't want to interfere with the sacred work of Vice President Biden's super-secret bipartisan negotiations. That's one explanation, at least. The more likely truth? 2012 jitters:
But if Reid attempts to advance far-reaching measures on the economy or other issues, it could very well prompt internal splits, expose politically vulnerable Democrats to tough votes and, ultimately, stall in Congress. Democrats have to defend 23 Senate seats next year compared with 10 for Republicans, and for now, Democrats are more eager to rally opposition to the conservative House Republican agenda — rather than rallying behind an agenda of their own.
It's been 769 days since the Democrat-held Senate passed a budget. During that long stretch, Democrats haven't even attempted to introduce their own blueprint. Is it any wonder that Harry Reid's do-nothing strategy is starting to stir some dissention in the ranks? Stay strong, Harry! Stick to your empty guns. Don't do it for me; do it for the cowboy poets.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography