Sunday, April 3, 2011

Democrats arrive in force in Washington as New Session Nears

Tomorrow brings the start of the special session of the new 62nd Congress, and congressmen and senators are starting to arrive in the capital city.  Of particular fascination are the Democrats, both federal and state level officials who are in town to inaugurate the first Democratic House of Representatives in sixteen years.

Among the Democratic dignitaries in town or rumored to be coming to town are three-time Presidential loser William Jennings Bryan, New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson, New York Governor John Dix, and Ohio Governor Judson Harmon, who won re-election last fall by defeating Marion, Ohio newspaper magnate, Warren Harding.  These men are in town to meet with the new Democratic congressmen in hopes of possibly bring back money to their states or just to remind people of their relevancy (in the case of Bryan).

The optimistic rabble met in many a downtown Washington hotel.  Among these according to the Washington Herald include the New Willard where Bryan and Harmon entertained guests.  However, they didn't seem to meet despite being on the same floor.  A popular new senator among the celebrities in Washington was New York Senator-elect James O'Gorman, who was elected Friday after a two and a half month stalemate in the state legislature. He met with Harmon and several representatives, including John Fitzgerald of New York and James Cox of Ohio, at the New Willard.  A reception in Washington for O'Gorman is planned for Thursday.  Bryan had dinner with two new Democratic congressmen from Michigan as well as his 1908 Presidential running mate, John Kern.

The focus around these Democratic celebrities is not without some tinge of Presidential gamesmanship.  There is already speculation that the new House Speaker Champ Clark, Governor Wilson, and Governor Harmon might throw their hat into the ring to unseat President Taft next year.  It is also within the realm of possibility that Bryan may do so as well, though at this point, only a sadist would support a Bryan candidacy now.  Harmon denied that his visit to Washington was to further his presidential ambitions, but instead he was to appear before the Supreme Court as a lawyer for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.

Another focus is the upcoming legislative agenda which includes Canadian reciprocity, a constitutional amendment for the direct election of Senators, campaign finance reform, government spending cuts (including a commission to look into government waste), the admission of Arizona and New Mexico, and administrative reform.  There is optimism within the Democratic caucus and within the assembled Democratic dignitaries that this agenda can be accomplished during the special session opening tomorrow.  The session is expected to last through December.

Link: Democrat Chiefs Start Work for New Legislation [The Washington Herald]

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