House Dems stand up

Last December, Time magazine named Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the runner-up for Person of the Year, writing, correctly, that the House led by Pelosi passed a long list of major agenda items throughout 2009. House Democrats made the tough calls, took the tough votes and achieved much.

If House Democrats had their way, healthcare legislation including the popular public option would have been enacted long ago. Stronger action to create jobs would be putting more people back to work today. New and clean energy sources would have received a major boost. The environment would be better protected. The jobless rate would be lower.

This record was why Time chose Speaker Pelosi as the second-place finisher, running an excellent story by Karen Tumulty that every political reporter should read and every strategist representing Democrats on television should quote.

As campaign 2010 begins, Democrats across America should fight back, stop playing defense and start donating money, registering voters and mobilizing to organize.

I suggest a national grassroots mobilization of money and volunteers beginning with support for House Democrats who have fought hard and well.

Let the great debate begin. The only reason the reform, health and jobs agenda passed by the House has not yet become law is that the institution of the Senate and the integrity of recent elections are under attack by radical Republicans who blockade hopes for change, abuse rules of the Senate and seek to destroy majority rule in America.

It is unprecedented, radical and extreme for any party to filibuster every major bill before the Senate. Many thoughtful conservatives are worried about extremist factions with growing influence in the GOP.

While rarely credited in major media, House Democrats have indeed passed major legislation on a long list of front burner issues. Having once worked for House leaders, I believe depressed Democrats should give great credit to Speaker Pelosi, her leadership team and House Democrats who joined forces to fight for dramatic change.

To progressives, the blogosphere, labor unions and working people of all races, members of black and Hispanic groups, environmentalists and young people who surged to vote in 2008: It is time to rally, organize and mobilize.

Off-year elections are about enthusiasm versus depression, about who stays home and who comes out to vote. Democrats must move beyond depression and stand up for those who stand up for them.

I single out House Democrats as the first great mobilization of 2010 because they have taken the political heat with courage and principle, and passed major legislation that matters.

Democrats have entered a golden moment of a Democratic president and Congress that must not be lost. It is time for Democratic depression to end and the great battle of 2010 to begin.

As for pundits who believe the election of 2010 is over, virtually none of them predicted the magnitude of Democratic victory in 2006 and 2008. They should look at Great Britain, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown rose from political obituaries to possibly forming a new government after the next election.

Karen Tumulty was right when she wrote: “It can be foolish — maybe even dangerous — to underestimate Nancy Pelosi.”

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at