November 08, 2006

Bye-Bye Pombo

So. Obviously last night was a great night for Democrats. I'm particularly pleased to see that Richard Pombo of California—the chair of the House Resources Committee who enjoyed: drilling in ANWR, auctioning off national parks, gutting the Endangered Species Act, weakening protections for fisheries, and handing over public lands to private owners—has been voted out. Environmental groups have been trying to get him ousted for years, but the DCCC's preferred candidate lost in the primary, his district is mostly comprised of conservative ranchers and farmers, and I'd be curious to know the story behind his defeat.

Anyway, the Democrats have the House now. It's, naturally, a thin margin of victory. It does seem that the realignment of the Northeast—the last few "moderate" Republicans giving up their seats for Democrats—has basically left the two parties with near parity in Congress. Presumably the GOP has a not-unreasonable shot at winning back the House at some point in the near future. I wonder if that fact will scare Democrats away from running the chamber the way DeLay and Hastert did—consigning the minority party to utter irrelevance—or if the knowledge that House majorities are fragile will end the era of parliamentary rule.

Part of me agrees that Democrats won't get much accomplished unless they're as ruthless as DeLay was, although the case for putting an end to some of DeLay's nastier, sleazier, and more undemocratic tactics in the House seems much stronger.
-- Brad Plumer 9:09 AM || ||