For weeks now I have been working with an ad hoc group of Democrats in an effort to garner support from Democratic Senators for making Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton the next Senate Majority Leader. Today another blogger picks up on the idea.
The author of the piece writes:
I don't think women are moving en masse to McCain/Palin -- but the fizzle of enthusiasm for Obama/Biden is wanting.
Hillary Clinton is the key -- and probably always has been. It's too late to put Hillary on the ticket -- but I wonder if Obama is willing to make his first tough-minded political act his support of Hillary Clinton as Senate Majority Leader.
It would cost him as Harry Reid doesn't want to be deposed and Richard Durbin and Chuck Schumer want the job -- and she's not a formal part of Senate leadership as of now.
But extraordinary challenges require extraordinary fixes and gestures." (emphasis added)
Personally, I am not sure how costly it would be for Senator Obama to step up and voice his support for Senator Clinton as Majority Leader in 2009. Just as Senator Clinton argues that it would be good for the Party to have a Democrat in the White House come January, surely Senators Reid, Durbin, and Schumer can see that at this point the only way that can happen is if Senator Obama - and they themselves - demonstrate their respect for Clinton Democrats by getting behind this movement. And unless Senator Obama does something bold but fast his chances in the general election will continue to dwindle. So if all the talk of "unity" ever meant anything, it is time for folks like Senator Reid, Senator Durbin, Senator Schumer, and Senator Obama to show some, and they can do so quite easily by going here and signing our letter urging support of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate Majority Leader. (Instructions for how any Democrat can sign the letter appear here.)
Supporting Senators who affirm their support for this powerful and important position for Senator Clinton come January makes sense for Democrats. But the Senators have to earn our support by reaching out to those of us who want to make sure that regardless of who ends up as President, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is given as powerful a position as possible within the Senate to pursue the policies and ideas that garnered her more votes than any Democratic contender for the Party's Presidential nomination ever.
Below is a segment from a post that I wrote for the Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate Majority Leader website, explaining the significance of the position and why Senator Clinton is the person for the job.
The Senate Republican and
Democratic floor leaders are elected by the members of their party in
the Senate at the beginning of each Congress. Depending on which
party is in power, one serves as majority leader and the other as
minority leader. The leaders serve as spokespersons for their parties'
positions on issues. The majority leader schedules the daily
legislative program and fashions the unanimous consent agreements that
govern the time for debate.
The majority leader has the right to be called upon first if several senators are seeking recognition by the presiding officer, which enables him to offer motions or amendments before any other senator. Although party floor leadership posts carry great responsibility, they provide few specific powers. Instead, floor leaders have largely had to depend on their individual skill, intelligence, and personality. Majority leaders seek to balance the needs of senators of both parties to express their views fully on a bill with the pressures to move the bill as quickly as possible toward enactment. These conflicting demands have required majority leaders to develop skills in compromise, accommodation, and diplomacy. Lyndon Johnson, who held the post in the 1950s, once said that the greatest power of the majority leader was "the power of persuasion."
The majority leader usually works closely with the minority leader so that, as Senator Bob Dole explained, "we never surprise each other on the floor." The party leaders meet frequently with the president and with the leaders of the House of Representatives. The majority leader also greets foreign dignitaries visiting the Capitol.
From the U.S. Senate’s official website.
The power of the Senate Majority turns largely on the talents of the Majority Leader who must be a person with great ideas and extremely political savvy.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton fits the bill perfectly. Her ideas and policy positions have won a clear mandate from the voters of America. She has demonstrated repeatedly an ability to work across the aisle to attain major legislative accomplishments; but she has also demonstrated that she will not simply cave to expediency (e.g. her vote on the FISA bill, her ongoing fight to ensure reproductive rights for all). As for meeting with foreign dignitaries, - Senator Clinton is known and respected around the world. If her peers elect her as majority leader, this will send the message to all those abroad that she is just as respected here at home.
To become the Senate Majority Leader in 2009, Senator Clinton must win election to that position by being voted into it by her fellow Democratic Senators.
To that end, we call upon all Democratic Senators and those currently running for Senate seats to endorse our effort. We have created an Act Blue page on which we will include any Democratic Senator or senatorial candidate who confirms to us their support for and desire to vote for Senator Clinton for Senate Majority Leader. We will then spread the word of that page far and wide and we believe we will be able to tap into the resources of the 18,000 million people who put their confidence in Senator Clinton in the primary season and who now look for her continuing leadership in our country’s national and international affairs.