Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stabenow expected to have new leadership role in Senate

The redemption of Debbie Stabenow? She has a long way to go in the eyes of some.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Debbie Stabenow is expected to run a Democratic committee that encourages dialogue between the party and community leaders on issues such as retirement, jobs, education and health care, the Michigan Democrat's office said Monday.

Stabenow is expected to be named Tuesday to lead the Senate Democratic Steering Committee, succeeding Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. The group works as a liaison with labor and community groups to discuss policies under development by Democrats.

"This is definitely going to help her continue to shape the direction that Democrats go in," said Stabenow spokeswoman Angela Benander.

Stabenow had served as the secretary of the Senate's Democratic caucus, but will still have a seat at leadership meetings in her new role. Benander said the steering committee post will complement her new position on the Senate Finance Committee, which deals with issues such as pension costs, Social Security, Medicare and health care.

The steering committee post has its own staff and budget, giving Stabenow additional clout in the Senate.

I'm thinking this morning of all those people who said they would withhold their vote from Debbie, and then I think about a 50-50 Senate without her. How tragic that would be. There is also the problem of those Democrats that seem to jump the aisle at every opportunity (yeah, I'm looking at you, Landrieu) and sometimes Debbie was one of them. Will that stop now?

My hope is that the divisive Bush agenda will cease and the Democrats will pull together to work on legislation that actually matters. Stabenow might surprise us, and the calls to Lamont her will cease.

Make us proud, Debbie.