DNC chair Howard Dean's 50-state strategy -- giving millions to state parties across the country, even in solidly GOP areas -- has been the subject of controversy in some Democratic circles. But there was no controversy on Saturday, when two of the Democrats' most unlikely House-seat winners in November -- Nancy Boyda of Kansas and Tim Walz of Minnesota -- thanked Dean and the party at the DNC's executive committee meeting for investing in field staff in their red districts. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart," Boyda said. Added Walz: "I am absolutely convinced this can be replicated."
For his part, Dean emphasized that winning back Congress was the easy part -- and that holding onto it will be the challenge. "It is now what we do, not what we say," he explained. "Elections are not mandates. Elections are power being loaned to politicians for two-year periods. Now it's our job to earn it back in '08." In fact, he turned to Boyda and said, "The race for 2008 will be won in 2007."
In order to survive in 2008, do the newly elected Democrats in Congress need to accomplish something over the next two years, or just set a baseline for what the party could accomplish -- if they had a president of their own in the White House? After her speech at the DNC meeting, Boyda told MSNBC.com's Tom Curry that she needs to have tangible accomplishments in hand when she runs for re-election in 2008. "Health care is a huge issue. My concern is that everybody is going to start concentrating on the 2008 election and I don't think voters are going to tolerate that for one minute," Boyda said. "They want to see movement done on health care; they want to see moment done in Iraq for sure."
Walz told Curry that voters in his district in rural southern Minnesota "have been neglected… They're going to want infrastructure projects." And he said he is "absolutely" aiming to get federal dollars devoted to biomedical research in his district, especially at the Mayo Clinic. "I see us as being a leader on biotechnology." He charged that "nothing was done on that federally" under his predecessor, the man he defeated on November 7. Rep. Gil Gutknecht.
"The coalition of almost 40 liberal organizations that met last week to sketch out a strategy for helping House Democrats pass the legislation in the '100 Hour Agenda' of Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) now has a name: Change America Now," per Roll Call.
"Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to begin his legislative push for a lobbying and ethics overhaul with a GOP-authored bill that was derided by outside watchdog groups as unacceptable, which may set up a showdown with House Democrats over how far reforms should go," Roll Call reports. The bill also falls short of changes proposed by presidential contenders McCain and Obama.
One of the first orders of business on the House International Affairs Committee may be to investigate whether federal money being allocated for faith based initiatives is in fact being "used to reward Bush's Christian conservative supporters and whether the faith-based groups are using the funds to help gain converts," reports the Boston Globe.
Bloomberg look sat how Wal-Mart might fare under a Democrat-run Congress after trying to improve its rocky relations with the party through stepped-up campaign contributions.