I don’t have much to say about the merits of Ken Baer’s Syria-related Pelosi-bashing other than to note that the injunction to “put aside the argument over whether or not it’s good policy for us to talk with Syria” doesn’t make much sense in this context. It’s worth just noting the fact that a Democratic-aligned political consultant is harshly criticizing a Democratic Speaker of the House in exactly the terms which the Republican Party is currently deploying all throughout the media. One doesn’t remark much upon things like this, because it actually happens quite frequently. But it’s also quite remarkable. One might think consultants would live in fear of powerful Democratic Party politicians. Disagree with them from time to time, of course, or maybe even frequently. But disagree quietly, secretly; certainly not join the partisan opponents of the party’s leaders in a high-profile political dispute.
And yet it happens all the time. That, in turn, tells you a lot about the relative distribution of power inside the Democratic Party. The consultants — the important ones at least — are more powerful than the people they nominally work for. Pelosi, obviously, isn’t capable of being muscled-over by consultants the way a back-bencher who’ll find his DCCC funds cut off if he doesn’t hire the right people is. That said, any Democratic leader either in congress or running for a presidential nomination needs to curry favor with the consultant class lest the media landscape be filled with “Democratic strategists,” anonymous or (as in this case) not, slamming them. The consultants, meanwhile, seem to have little fear of speaking out. And fearlessness is, of course, an admirable quality in a journalist or a blogger. It’s not, however, really what one would expect from a political consultant — they’re supposed to be hack partisans.