Senate Democrats sliding into 'irrelevancy'

As Democrats channel their inner resistance and follow their leaders to the left, they may be sliding into irrelevance, according to former New Hampshire Republican governor and senator Judd Gregg.

In a column at thehill.com, linked at realclearpolitics.com, Mr. Gregg describes the huge personal and financial sacrifice required to run for a House or Senate seat, and he questions why the Democrats would embrace a "trajectory of irrelevancy":

[I]t would seem that a person would want to do something significant in Washington if he or she is fortunate enough to win election.

Yet for reasons that are difficult to comprehend, the Democrats in Congress have firmly embraced a trajectory of irrelevancy.

Making oneself relevant when you are in the minority, especially in the House, is a challenging exercise at the best of times. 

But the thing that is uniquely strange about the Democratic leadership and their followers in this Congress is their enthusiasm for dealing themselves out of any constructive role in governing our nation.

Citing Senate Democrats' attempt to block the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, and thereby pushing the Republicans into eliminating the 60-vote precedent for Supreme Court nominees, Gregg says:

In doing so, Senate Democrats kicked themselves off their own playing field. 

The aftershock of this action will reverberate for a long time.  

Gregg suggests that the Democrats' action could free up President Trump to expand the field of potential nominees for the next Supreme Court vacancy – even, to the horror of Democrats, "someone like" Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Extending the playing field metaphor, Gregg adds:

This should scare not only the left but Democratic senators generally. But they have chosen to opt out. Their concerns will be, at best, shouts from a distant bleacher section.

Mr. Gregg sees the same dynamic playing out with tax reform, where the Democrat response has been to "unilaterally depart the field of play," forcing the Republicans to pass a tax bill through reconciliation, requiring just 51 votes.

Gregg goes on to appeal to the better nature of rank-and-file Democrat senators, who worked so hard to get elected and want to make the country "a better place."  His column suggests that those senators should ignore the "shouters" on the left and "get back in the game."

Can they really wish to spend their time there doing nothing but filing disgruntled press releases and listening to the anger of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? 

Yet even as a respected former Republican senator appeals to Democrats to drop the resistance and get in the game, liberal pundits continue to echo the morbid rhetoric of Senate Democrats on Obamacare repeal. 

New York Times writer Charles M. Blow, in a column also linked at realclearpolitics.com, includes in his critique of the House health care bill that has now moved to the Senate such nuggets as "the callous feel of the well-heeled dancing on the poor's graves" and "the body stretched out in a wooden box."

Rather than seeking relevancy on the playing field, Democrats are shouting irrelevantly from a distant bleacher.

As Democrats channel their inner resistance and follow their leaders to the left, they may be sliding into irrelevance, according to former New Hampshire Republican governor and senator Judd Gregg.

In a column at thehill.com, linked at realclearpolitics.com, Mr. Gregg describes the huge personal and financial sacrifice required to run for a House or Senate seat, and he questions why the Democrats would embrace a "trajectory of irrelevancy":

[I]t would seem that a person would want to do something significant in Washington if he or she is fortunate enough to win election.

Yet for reasons that are difficult to comprehend, the Democrats in Congress have firmly embraced a trajectory of irrelevancy.

Making oneself relevant when you are in the minority, especially in the House, is a challenging exercise at the best of times. 

But the thing that is uniquely strange about the Democratic leadership and their followers in this Congress is their enthusiasm for dealing themselves out of any constructive role in governing our nation.

Citing Senate Democrats' attempt to block the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, and thereby pushing the Republicans into eliminating the 60-vote precedent for Supreme Court nominees, Gregg says:

In doing so, Senate Democrats kicked themselves off their own playing field. 

The aftershock of this action will reverberate for a long time.  

Gregg suggests that the Democrats' action could free up President Trump to expand the field of potential nominees for the next Supreme Court vacancy – even, to the horror of Democrats, "someone like" Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Extending the playing field metaphor, Gregg adds:

This should scare not only the left but Democratic senators generally. But they have chosen to opt out. Their concerns will be, at best, shouts from a distant bleacher section.

Mr. Gregg sees the same dynamic playing out with tax reform, where the Democrat response has been to "unilaterally depart the field of play," forcing the Republicans to pass a tax bill through reconciliation, requiring just 51 votes.

Gregg goes on to appeal to the better nature of rank-and-file Democrat senators, who worked so hard to get elected and want to make the country "a better place."  His column suggests that those senators should ignore the "shouters" on the left and "get back in the game."

Can they really wish to spend their time there doing nothing but filing disgruntled press releases and listening to the anger of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? 

Yet even as a respected former Republican senator appeals to Democrats to drop the resistance and get in the game, liberal pundits continue to echo the morbid rhetoric of Senate Democrats on Obamacare repeal. 

New York Times writer Charles M. Blow, in a column also linked at realclearpolitics.com, includes in his critique of the House health care bill that has now moved to the Senate such nuggets as "the callous feel of the well-heeled dancing on the poor's graves" and "the body stretched out in a wooden box."

Rather than seeking relevancy on the playing field, Democrats are shouting irrelevantly from a distant bleacher.

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