House Democrats Are Not Making Good Leadership Moves

Especially compared to the Senate Democrats (boldface mine):

But so far no one is talking about a contract-with-America type messaging effort. No one is talking about mastering the intricacies of new online advertising opportunities. No one is talking about a 24 month, targeted voter registration drive. No one is talking about how to root out the endemic revolving door corruption that literally defines the last decade of DCCC failure. And no one is talking about the dangers of Rahm Emanuel and Steve Israel’s diktat that the default situation for recruiting candidates is easily corruptible, self-funding Republican-lite dullards.

Instead, one congressman told me, “this is going to be another damn personality contest unrelated to vision… [or] ability to get a very serious, difficult job done.” There was also a “battle” for Caucus vice chair that was won by Linda Sanchez (D-CA) over Barbara Lee (D-CA). Why the relatively unaccomplished Sanchez over the heroic and iconic Lee? “The CBC doesn’t see strong progressives like Barbara Lee or, for that matter, Keith Ellison or Donna Edwards, as part of their crowd. The CBC didn’t back Barbara,” a congressman told me after the vote, “not the way the Hispanic Caucus got behind Sanchez. She just sits around and plays video games on her cell phone all day. I couldn’t believe that vote! I heard Nancy let it be known to her closest supporters that with Becerra leaving the leadership, she wanted a Hispanic. That’s the way she plays….”

As said as it is, Pelosi is probably the best we can hope for as head of the House leadership. While this stuff probably strikes most as inside baseball, it’s really important. Not only do these positions affect strategy, but they also have significant effects on election campaigns–the leadership often has a very strong say in how Democratic candidates run their campaigns:

Yes, you get money, both directly from the party as well as access to Democratic donors. But that money comes with strings: it often must be spent on party-backed campaign advisors and consultants, who have a playbook of political strategems. That said consultants suck at their jobs is painfully obvious, but this is also leads to a lot of cronyism. As long as these apparatchiks can convince party leadership that their methods are sound, they can stay on the gravy train. While you might think this would be difficult given poor Democratic performance, most of these advisors work on the campaigns of the leadership and thus are trusted–after all, it works for the leadership. Until, of course, it doesn’t.

This isn’t helping the rest of us at all.

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