The Method Behind . . . ?

Posted: Jul 15, 2010 6:10 PM
The New Republic's William Galston points out that the Senate is in play in the 2010 elections, pointing out that usually safe incumbents like California's Barbara Boxer, Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, and Washington's Patty Murray are fighting for their political lives.

Interestingly, House members increasingly are feeling that the Obama administration is casting them to the electoral wolves, with the President seeking to build a legislative firewall around the Senate.

You know what?  They're probably right -- but not because the President simply favors his own former chamber, as some congressmen reportedly suspect.  The reasons are both simpler and subtler.

First, The White House may have decided that the House is irretrievably lost, and is therefore concentrating its resources on the Senate.

Second, even a Republican House majority can't get much of substance done if the Senate is majority Democrat.  Any legislation the House passes simply won't come up for a vote and therefore will never get to the President's desk.

But a Republican House majority gives the President someone else to blame for the country's failures on his own watch -- and therefore, arguably, is beneficial to him.  Even a Republican minority in the Senate can be blamed for non-action, given the chamber's filibuster rules . . . and so a Republican majority House and a Republican minority Senate is the perfect recipe for Obama's efforts to persuade the public that Republicans are responsible, even though their power is actually limited.

In contrast, a Republican majority House and a Republican majority Senate mean trouble for the President -- because he's then in the position of having to veto popular legislation coming from Congress, things like tax cuts and the like.

So there may well be method behind the President's apparent dismissal of House Democrats.