Missing from this list are House Democratic members and leaders whose voices could make a real difference here: Foreign Affairs ranking Dem Eliot Engel; Whip Steny Hoyer; DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
All in all, the failure of more Democrats to sign this letter suggests many still fear the politics of appearing out of sync with whatever Israel wants. It’s true that a number of Democrats have said they will skip the speech. But many of those have clarified that this isn’t due to any organized boycott, and far more are attending. And, really, all the talk of a “boycott” is misdirection. It shouldn’t be all that difficult for Democrats to call for amere delay in this speech, while rebuffing efforts to portray such a move as “anti-Israel,” given how egregious the circumstances surrounding this event really are.
To be sure, given the aforementioned Democratic skittishness, the fact that two dozen Democrats have signed this letter does suggest that a political space is opening up for Democrats to feel like it might not necessarily be suicidal to occasionally appear at odds with Israel, even if it is a small one.
But still, Congressional Democrats face a problem here: What are they going to do now? The CNN poll I referenced above strongly suggests the Democratic base is not happy with the fact that Netanyahu will be going forward with this speech, which has been portrayed by many commentators as forcing Congressional Democrats to choose between Netanyahu and Obama. If most are not willing to call for a delay in the speech, what will they prove willing to do? If they do nothing, how do they explain that to rank and file Democratic voters?
Very, very few House Democrats, only 23 out of 188, are willing to publicly go to bat for their own President on this. The others are sitting on their damn hands, and yes, that includes Nancy Pelosi. There should be 188 signatures on that letter, or at least 100. But 23? That's only 12% asking for a delay of something that according to that CNN poll, 81% of Democrats are totally against.
Sargent implies at the very least an astonishing lack of support for the President from his own party, and in the worst case this is outright cowardice from Dems in Congress.