Thursday, November 5, 2009

Roaming the Halls

I can't say I'm a big fan of the Tea Party types, or of Michele Bachmann in particular...but I do have to say that I like today's event. Not so much the rally, with the crazy speeches (and, yes, do GOP leaders really want to associate themselves with crazed rants on the same day they're trying to pretend that their own bill is A Serious Effort?) , but I do like the idea that after the rally the activists were urged to go inside and lobby their Members of Congress in person. Good for them. Alas, there's a problem of democratic frustration here -- it's really hard to understand that you can have all these people here, and all the people you know back home, but that you're still in the minority. Still, to the extent that they behaved themselves (and I don't know; TPM is usually my source for this kind of thing, and they have little outside of a bit of an incident in Pelosi's office), I'm all for citizens getting involved in that way.

OTOH, the other constituents-on-the-Hill news of the day was that some pro-reform types staged a sit-in in Lieberman's office and had to be dragged off by the Capitol police. Assuming these were real reform supporters and not conservative double-agents, I can't think of anything stupider to do. I have no idea what Holy Joe intends to really do about cloture, but there's no way that he's going to be persuaded by civil disobedience in his office. There are lots of good reasons to do civil disobedience -- it might raise awareness of an underappreciated issue, or demonstrate the intensity of support for a measure that is thought to have only mild supporters. None of those things apply to health care reform and Joe Lieberman. Sorry, activists -- there's pretty much nothing you can do to affect Holy Joe on this one. It's very possible that the combined efforts of his various Senate friends and the President of the United States of America might find a way to appeal to his vanity and sense of self-righteousness, but the more he sees it as himself vs. the crazed lefties who tried to kick him out of the Senate, the less he's going to be open to allowing reform to happen.

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