Mapping out Two Years of a Democratic House

If nominated to be secretary of state, I could probably make the whole world love us, solve the Israel-Palestinian issue, diplomatically vanquish North Korea, get Crimea back from the Russians and isolate Cuba and Venezuela. And break some china along the way just to show who’s boss.

If elected Israeli prime minister, I could probably also solve the Palestinian issue, though dramatically differently than if I were secretary of state. I would bring the chareidim and secular together, get the world to agree to an indivisible Yerushalayim as capital, and have my pistachio ice cream and eat it too.

Alas, the world is missing my guidance. They’re not even asking me to run for dog catcher in Boro Park. But seriously, I have some great ideas.

Take the Democrats who will control the House next year. They’ve been gone from the seats of power for so long they probably don’t even know the way to the leadership restroom anymore. But if they want to have a successful run over the next two years and get renewal on the lease in 2020, I have some advice for them. They ignore it at their own peril.

  1. Recognize straight away that you do not have any power. The gavel, the speaker’s well, the committee chairs — it’s all an illusion. Ask Republicans who took over the House in 2010 and then spent six years in a gilded, misery-stuffed Obamaworld. Just tell your voters that the House is but one-half of one-third of the U.S. government. Medicare for All and Abolish ICE must wait for bluer times.
  2. Don’t mention the I-word. You have too slim a majority in the House for impeachment and no chance of it getting a two-thirds edge in the Senate. President Trump is here for now, and so is Brett Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court. Leading anyone on otherwise just angers a generation of moderates whom you’ll need in two years and tells them that you can’t be trusted to govern. Give your voters some other red meat. Convince them that if they sign the petition they’ll get free phones or a gift certificate. Whatever. But stay off the I-word.
  3. The media has been good for you, right? Some even refer to them as your media arm. Here’s where you must use your popularity with them — don’t be hypocrites. You can’t defend CNN’s Jim Acosta with the “free speech” mantra and snub Fox News’ Tucker Carlson when his home is surrounded by a mob. Above all, you cannot throw in your lot with someone who hijacked a presidential press conference.

Here’s the beef: I get Trump. I understand him very well. Reporters from the “Resistance” have turned press conferences into gladiator arenas where it’s their chance to go mano a mano with the president. Dear Democrats, I hope you are listening. Reporters who insult the office of the presidency must be condemned by you, from whom it will pack a bigger punch than if Republicans call them out.

  1. Don’t fake outrage at things you were fine with under Democratic presidents. You just boil the blood of moderates and it portrays you in a negative light.

Don’t call attacks on liberal donor George Soros “anti-Semitic” because he happens to be Jewish, while simultaneously casting conservative donor Sheldon Adelson as a dark purveyor of hate. Big donor money is either good or bad. Mocking Jewish donors is either anti-Semitic or it’s not. (Hint: It’s not.)

Don’t accuse Trump of egging on anti-Semites until you come to terms with the fact that the last Democratic president covered up on a 2006 picture of him smiling with Louis Farrakhan. Call him out and then there’s what to talk about.

And finally, for Heaven’s sake, stop promoting groups such as Women’s March. At least half their leaders are openly anti-Semitic and hate Israel. Hate, hate, hate Israel. Stay away from them like the plague.

  1. Here’s a challenging one. The Clintons will be all over the place during the next few months as they pursue their 13-city nationwide tour. Hillary Clinton might continue to drop hints about a final presidential bid. Her minions may plant op-eds about how 2020 is the Year of the (Clinton) Woman.

Mighty selfish of them, I understand. They should stand aside for new leadership and not become the constant story of the Democratic party. But, c’est la vie, as the French say. That’s life handing you lemons. Just keep on promoting your young leadership and the past will hopefully get the hint.

  1. See how you could work with President Trump and the Republicans. The founding fathers were thinking “royalty without the crown” when they conjured up the office of the president. The House, where you will lead next year, was just meant as an add-on, an irritant to keep the president grounded, probably nothing more than a compromise to keep Virginia and the big states happy and on the reservation.

You don’t even have the powers of the Senate. They will still be churning out confirmation after confirmation of conservative judges who will tilt judicial philosophy in this country for two generations.

Prison reform, perhaps, would be an excellent icebreaker for when you meet Paul Ryan for tea. Or a completed bill removing the cap for property taxes that last year’s legislation enacted. Or guaranteed coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. This is good for you, since it’ll show your voters that you deliver.

  1. This may seem obvious, but don’t mix into the upcoming presidential primary. If two’s company and three’s a crowd, get ready for a crammed convention of candidates in your party. But you have been underestimating Donald Trump for years now. He has beaten the Bush machine, the Clinton machine, and more machines than a Chrysler factory. He’s a skilled politician and will savage most of your candidates with his left pinky.

So separate the presidential race from what you want to do in Washington. You never know, you may keep the House even though you lose the White House. Or the opposite.

  1. Nancy Pelosi must go. Let her run the show for the first year and then announce new leadership. No one is indispensable. Especially not someone whom Google automatically completes the question of “how old is…”

Just some good advice so your stay in the majority will have a bit more longevity than it did last time.

Happy surfing the blue wave!