We have a number of reasons for the Democratic resurgence here in Colorado. But I think there is one major reason that is never discussed, the large number of great politicos we have. Especially when compared to total embarrassments like Marilyn Musgrave & Doug Bruce. Quality is a very powerful argument in the political contest.
Remember those cartoons where there is an incredibly complicate machine and there is a person constantly working to keep it running, oiling it here, adjusting a dial there, taking a hammer to it elsewhere. The constant ongoing effort to keep it running. Well think of the machine as the federal government and that person working to keep it running is Congresswoman DeGette.
She talked about a number of things, but the underlying thread through all of this was making government work well for people. What should be improved, how can it be improved, making the change happen. It's a difficult under-appreciated job that is absolutely essential. (Maybe we should only elect moms as representatives as they already live that life raising their kids.)
She also sees that it takes a lot of time to accomplish anything in Congress. Some efforts she has been working for 9+ years. And she sees going forward that what she takes on can take 9 years from today. She's in there for the long haul, which is key if you are going to get legislation passed. Some reps are there as a stepping stone (anyone think Ed Perlmutter is not going to shoot for something higher in the next 8 years?) while others see what they can accomplish if they are in it for the long haul. Congresswoman DeGette is in it for the long haul. And because of that, she will continue to be effective in getting legislation passed.
She is presently working on major legislation for both consumer safety and food safety. Boring little things that will get no press, but will save many many lives from here forward. (Why is it Paris Hilton gets more press than all of this basic legislation put together?)
I asked here if she was worried about a veto and she was basically flip with her response that we have a new approach, they pass it, Bush vetos it, they override the veto. The way she said this was when she won me over - it was just that it's an extra step, but no big deal. She clearly sees that the emperor has limited power.
She also talked a lot about how not only did Bush take on a lot more power than is good for our government, but that Congress was actively complicit in this shift. It's rare to have a politician own up to what they should have done better - usually they point the finger elsewhere. She talked quite a bit about specifics where Congress should have done it's job, from the PATRIOT act to FISA to a number of other items.
She talked not only about these mistakes, but about how Congress in the next session needs to fix these problems. Clearly she sees this as one of the major jobs of Congress in 2008.
She talked about stems cell research some, but not a lot. It clearly will be a slam dunk come January and she realizes that. So she's just waiting till then (that knowledge again that these things take time) and is very assured it will then pass (it will).
She also made a comment almost in passing that she needs to figure out what will be her major effort once this passes. I think by January everything she has been working diligently on for the last couple of years will be in law. I took how she said this that she does not have anything that strikes her as her next big effort (yet). So if there is something that you think is really important and it will take a major effort over several years to accomplish, it might be a good time to talk to the Congresswoman.
I asked her about her opinion of inherent contempt and she said she did not know what it is. It's interesting that something that has been a major theme on the net for over a year, and is a constitutional prerogative of Congress, is apparently still news to many in Congress. Strange.
She then closed up talking about her book. The inspiration for it came when she dove in to what drove the Republican war on science and she found that it really came down to a Republican war on sex. (For a party that has David Vitter and Larry Craig to name a few, the Republicans sure are hung up on sex.) I asked her if she's ready for her Daily Show interview and she said yes, then asked if I thought she would get on. My reply was with a book about Republicans and sex, how could they not invite her.
I have a lot of respect for the legislators who just work day in and day out trying to improve the country knowing they will never be the rock star. Because they are the ones that do the vast majority of the work.