How to use the juice?

Rick Klein has a good piece in today's Globe about the clout of the Massachusetts delegation under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but former Phoenix scribe Seth Gitell goes a step further in the new Boston Mag, warning that Markey, Meehan et al "could squander a huge opportunity if they spend the next few months stuck on Iraq." What he means is that, instead of bringing home the bacon to the Bay State, our congressmen look like they're going to spend their time and energy scrutinizing and criticizing the war -- the kind of oversight functions I outlined last week (and in this sidebar).

I don't disagree with Gitell (although I would point out that, if oversight saves or recovers billions of dollars in waste, fraud or prevention of unnecessary action, that's bacon for Mass. taxpayers too). I would add to his analysis that I suspect our delegation is a victim of its own success: Pelosi wants to give the more electorally lucrative rewards to representatives from more competitive districts, to help ensure the Dem majority in '08 and beyond. Let's face it, the 10 Massachusetts congressmen could go on a group baby-eating diet and still hold 8 of the seats; so they get assigned "important" work, while others get the bacon.

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