As you may have heard, progressive groups are petitioning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to throw down the gauntlet and get conservative Democrats on board against Republican filibusters. The idea: “Any Democratic senators who support a Republican attempt to block a vote on health care reform should be stripped of their leadership titles. Americans deserve a clean up-or-down vote on health care.”
A letter from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to supporters announces, “We’ll deliver the petition signatures to Harry Reid next week after a big news conference in front of the Senate.”
So what does leadership think of this? Not too much, apparently. “These kinds of gestures are counter-productive and won’t have any impact on Capitol Hill,” says a leadership aide. “These kinds of efforts will fall flat.”
Additionally, the aide added, even if Democrats were responsive to the pressure, it’s improperly placed. “There’s a fundamental miscalculation here, in that ultimately this is not a decision for Senator Reid to make. This is a decision that’s going to be made by the caucus as a whole.”
I doubt whether that will assuage progressives, but generally speaking the notion that party defectors should be stripped of their seniority and other perks is often embraced by grassroots activists on both the left and the right. But in recent years it hasn’t typically resulted in any action on the Hill.