At the same time, liberals continue to be furious with Harry Reid -- furious enough to run ads against him in Nevada, where he stands an excellent chance of losing next November even if he can retain support of liberals. (Some) liberals think that's OK -- here's Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher, on how she'll feel if the Democrats don't get a public option (not health care -- a public option) through the Senate:
As the Judean People's Front said, "That'll show 'em."
The Republicans terrorized the Democrats in the Senate in 2004 by taking out the Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle. It’s a good model. If that’s what it takes to wake the Democrats up, with Reid’s numbers — and the ensuing outpouring of rage at the destruction of the public option — it shouldn’t be that hard to do.
I don’t care if we have to recruit a Democratic primary challenger...And I sure don’t fucking care if Danny Tarkanian becomes the next Senator from Nevada, because at that point 60 votes don’t mean anything anyway.
Where to start...
OK, first. The difference between Pelosi and Reid is not their ideological differences or their strength; it is their jobs, and the rules and context of the House and Senate. Simply put, in the House liberals have the votes to do more or less what they want to do; in the Senate, they do not. It's also the case that party leadership in the House has far more influence over the votes of individual Members than party leadership in the Senate has over individual Senators, thanks to the rules and incentives of the different institutions. If Pelosi and Reid changed places tomorrow, it would, I guess, soon be Pelosi who was under fire as a sell-out, and liberals would be building monuments to the boxer from Nevada.
Second, there's an enormous difference between trying to find a way to keep Olympia Snowe on board and what Jon Walker is calling "the absolute reign of Empress Olympia Snowe." Yes, the marginal votes (Snowe, Ben Nelson...you know the names) seem to have a massive influence at this stage -- but the basic agenda isn't their agenda; it's the agenda that Obama, Pelosi, and, yes, Harry Reid ran on.
Third point. Even if one believes that Harry Reid is cutting bad deals here and will wind up with a worse bill than, say, a Majority Leader Schumer might get -- isn't the proper solution to that problem an effort to oust him as Majority Leader, not to replace him with a Republican? Hamsher thinks she's emulating Republicans if she attacks Reid. Republicans, however, didn't target Bill Frist when Democrats obstructed them; they targeted, well, a Democrat! Mitch McConnell isn't up in 2010, but many Republicans are. The correct lesson from the difficulty in winning with 60 votes isn't to say that 59 or 58 votes would be just as good (and yes, that's what some are saying), but to keep working until you get 62 or 63 votes.
(BTW...I guess I'll have to update Monday's movie item now. Hadn't thought of this one at that point).