The showdown, or at least the opening act of it, is over.  The dust has settled.  And the Democrats have failed again.

The battle for the $35 Billion expansion of the SCHIP program has sparked some impressive fireworks, the least of which being those centered around the Frost Family.  At its heart, the debate is waged between a vast majority of Americans who not only approve of the expansion, but are willing to pay extra in taxes over it, and those who, in true Grover Norquist fashion, simply must reject and fight kicking and screaming anything that would dig into their own pockets.

There have been arguments that it would cost too much, even though the bill came with its own built in funding.  There has been parsing between whether it’s moral to cover middle income children or not.  From a very small yet incredibly vocal minority, there has been a severe kickback to the expansion.

Despite this, when Bush vetoed the bill, it looked as though the Democratic Congress would be able to pull off an override vote.  The Senate had already passed its version of the bill with a super majority and the House was less than twenty votes shy of the two thirds majority required to override the veto.

It was doable, or so one might think.

But as we learn, the override vote in the House today failed by a margin of thirteen votes.

They failed again.

To be completely fair, the Democratic leadership isn’t completely to blame (even more fair, not really to blame at all).  If some Republican congressmen are going to dig in their heels and vote it down, sometimes that’s all there is to be done about it.

But that doesn’t erase the feelings of frustration.  The Democratic majority has lost every battle at every turn, and after a while whether individual battles are their fault or not, you stop caring.

Not that the Democratic leadership had a shortage of harsh words for their Republican colleagues.

“Each Republican who voted to uphold President Bush’s heartless veto should be embarrassed that he chose to stand in the way of improving the lives of millions of America’s poorest children,” Mr. Reid said. “While we appreciate those who voted to override his veto, there unfortunately remain too many who are all too willing to rubber-stamp President Bush’s shameful policies and succumb to his misinformation campaign.”

But I don’t want tough talk, I want results.  81% of Americans wanted this expansion, including over two thirds of of Republicans.  A majority of Americans want out of Iraq, and a majority would like our civil liberties protected.

It is all well and good to blame individual battles on hardnosed Republicans, but when you are talking about every single political battle of significance, you have to look at the Democratic leadership and ask them specifically, why is none of this stuff happening?

And if they can’t give a better answer than some bluster about obstructionist Republicans, well, I think it’s time to find new leaders. 

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