Minority Blues

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  November 17, 2010

In addition, they are mostly liberals in a caucus now definitively dominated by their kind. Many of the defeated Democrats were so-called "Blue Dog" moderates, nearly wiping out that wing of the party.

Frank, Markey, McGovern, and the rest can lead the charge for Democrats — pushing back against Republicans, and in favor of a positive agenda — in ways that Obama and Senate Democrats, who will be expected to produce results, cannot. Being in the minority is freeing, as House Republicans demonstrated over the past two years.

"You're going to see a Barney who can be more of a fighter" in the minority, predicts Sowyrda. "I think the fire in Barney's belly is stronger now than the night before Democrats lost control of the House."

Furthermore, having proven themselves nearly unbeatable, they can worry less about their own re-elections, and put more effort into getting more Democrats elected — helping 2012 House challengers raise money, for instance, or supplying staff and supporters. (Expect a particular push to win back neighboring New Hampshire's two congressional districts, which both flipped from blue to red this year.) They can also help Democratic incumbents get re-elected — as Capuano points out, not only with campaign assistance, but by taking the heat off them through their choice of votes and other actions.

Helping elect new members, protecting incumbents, standing up for progressive principles, leading the agenda, winning legislative victories — these are the ingredients for gaining influence and power within the party. That could make members of the Massachusetts delegation more important than ever — if they can stomach being in the minority for now.

READ:Ten little Congressmen . . . by David S. Bernstein.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached atdbernstein@phx.com.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
Related: Can Patrick Hang On?, Reliving the nightmare, Chaos Theory, More more >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Massachusetts, Democrats, Ed Markey,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MRS. WARREN GOES TO WASHINGTON  |  March 21, 2013
    Elizabeth Warren was the only senator on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, aside from the chair and ranking minority, to show up at last Thursday's hearing on indexing the minimum wage to inflation.
  •   MARCH MADNESS  |  March 12, 2013
    It's no surprise that the coming weekend's Saint Patrick's Day celebrations have become politically charged, given the extraordinary convergence of electoral events visiting South Boston.
  •   LABOR'S LOVE LOST  |  March 08, 2013
    Steve Lynch is winning back much of the union support that left him in 2009.
  •   AFTER MARKEY, GET SET, GO  |  February 20, 2013
    It's a matter of political decorum: when an officeholder is running for higher office, you wait until the election has been won before publicly coveting the resulting vacancy.
    It wasn't just that Scott Brown announced he was not running in the special US Senate election — it was that it quickly became evident that he was not handing the job off to another Republican.

 See all articles by: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN