Democrats risk fumbling a great opportunity to score gains in the run-up to the 2006 midterm elections.... The Democrats need to be out in front on this issue, pairing substantial proposals for reform with a narrative about Republican indiscretion and incompetence—linking outright bribery to rule-manipulation designed to pay off fat cats and ram through an unpopular agenda. A line about the “Republican culture of corruption” has started to creep into Democratic talking points. But this needs to be a sustained effort, with points scored at every opportunity and the whole caucus involved, not just four congressmen.Agreed, but a big problem: Harry Reid. As I've written before, he has been an ineffectual, MIA leader for the Dems. After all, whatever happened to Reid after his closed session surprise? I gave him kudos then for that abrupt act of bravado, but where's the follow-up? Lacking any evidence of continued pressure and demands, the closed session edges that much closer to convincing many that indeed it was simply a stunt.
As far as I've been able to tell, Reid is not a gutsy, born-leader type -- exactly the type of person needed right now. The Dems need their own version of McCain, a self-proclaimed maverick who is willing to piss people off at times. For that matter, Pelosi doesn't fit the right mold either as she's not much of a stirring presence (to say the least).
They're the wrong people steering the ship at -- as TNR correctly asserts -- an opportune time.