A Total Strawman

February 3, 2010 5:17 a.m.

Yesterday I did a handful of posts about how Hill Democrats seem much less adept as mixing politics and policy together than their Republican counterparts. And this seems especially the case in the House where control of the Speakership is a uniquely powerful political tool because it allows the majority to hold votes on their own terms, one which unify the majority party and split the minority party. But a number of people have responded by saying: that’s a distraction. The reason the Democrats are in such trouble is because of the lousy economy.

But truly this is a non-existent debate.There may be some people out there who really think that the Dems are having such trouble because Harry Reid is a doofus or because they’re not ‘framing’ issues right or a lot else. And I confess that when you listen to a lot of TV pundits you do get the sense that they really think so. And maybe some do.

But I don’t think anybody with half a brain (and maybe that excludes more people than it should) doesn’t realize that the Democrats problems are overwhelmingly tied to the fact that we’re in the midst of the worst recession since the end of the Second World War. Whether it’s 75% of the problem or 80% or 90% I sort of go back and forth on in my mind. But clearly this is overwhelmingly the issue.

But that doesn’t negate the need and reality of politics. Politics still matters. When you sail in rough seas or adverse winds your sailing abilities don’t cease to matter. They actually become even more important, even though sometimes the circumstances are so adverse that almost nothing you do yields more than marginal gains.

And these are very rough waters for the Democrats. So while it’s clear that a lot of what’s happening isn’t just not in the Democrats control but isn’t their fault, they still need to find the best ways to mobilize their majority powers to stem the damage. After all, it’s holding the majority in such trying times that is doing them such damage; so they might as well use the perks.

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