Blame the Senate!

Yes, progressives are frustrated with the White House for its occasional timidity, but they would do well to take a page from Nancy Pelosi and direct a little more of their anger at the Senate:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday urged progressives and pundits alike not punish House Democrats in the 2010 elections for the lethargy and shortcomings of the Senate. [...]

"I appreciate what Paul Krugman says," said Pelosi. "It would be helpful though if some of those people who are saying these things [noted] that the House did more. Remember, we did more. We passed jobs bill after jobs bill after jobs bill that were not picked up in the Senate because of the need for the 60th vote... we know what we need to do and that's what binds our caucus."

Under Pelosi's leadership, House Democrats passed a stronger stimulus bill, a cap-and-trade package, and a more liberal health-care reform bill, to name a few. House Democrats have already passed a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and if it actually had a shot in the Senate, I'm sure that Pelosi could have moved Democrats to pass an immigration reform bill. Overall, the Senate has ignored more than 400 measures passed by the House over the last two years. The economy would be stronger, progressives would be happier, and Democrats would be in much better shape if Senate Democrats had set aside their egos to adopt and pass House legislation unmolested.

Pelosi is right; insofar that anything deserves blame for the current situation, it's the Senate, where centrist Democrats have used every opportunity to preen, posture, and frustrate progressive goals.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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