Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Post-action analysis

TPM Cafe has an interesting analysis of what happened in the Senate today. If you buy this take (and I pretty much do; I thought pretty much the same thing when I first heard what was going on, esp. the bit about Gingrich), today was a rather momentous one:

I have a theory about Congress, which is that there is often a moment when the effective majority switches, when the minority takes control of the agenda well before an election. It happened in 1994 when Gingrich forced the Crime Bill back to conference. It happened in 1996 when Kennedy forced the Senate to take up the minimum wage increase. After those events, the majority never quite had control of the agenda again.

I think the same thing just happened today when Harry Reid took the Senate into closed session to force a discussion of the delayed Intelligence Committee report on misuse of intelligence.

Bill Frist's ability to run the institution now lies completely in ruins.
How sweet is that? I think Frist's ability to run the institution has been staggering for a while, starting at the very latest with the Terri Schiavo business, which may not have seemed absurd to all people but was rather ridiculous to at least a good portion of people who were otherwise sympathetic to Frist's reputed causes. Add on the insider trading, internal dissension from Republicans pissed over his inability to hammer home John Bolton and rally Senate Republicans around Harriet Miers, and he's been walking the road to lame duckness for a while. Well, he's just arrived.

This could really be a catalyst or the Democrats in 2006 if they play it correctly. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical of Reid when he first became Minority Leader, but this was a pretty awesome stroke.

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