Free Markets, Free People

“Denial” Isn’t A River In Egypt

I swear I have no idea what the left is smoking, but whatever it is, it makes them blind to reality. One of the more prominent examples of this condition is Steve Benen at Washington Monthly’s “Political Animal”.

He cites Kevin Drum who remembers what the Republicans faced when they too had both houses of Congress and the Presidency:

They wanted a revolution, but instead they got NCLB. And a wimpy stem cell compromise. And Sarbanes-Oxley. And McCain-Feingold. And a huge Medicare expansion. And complete gridlock on Social Security.

Not exactly what they signed up for.

Drum goes on to sarcastically point out that Reps did get a nice tax cut and a couple nice wars, but his point was that “Washington DC is a tough place to get anything done.” And at the time, Democrats were no small part of the reason.

Benen then adds his two cents about why Republicans found DC a tough place based on some rather dubious analysis. Then he adds this:

Obama is finding that D.C. is tough place to get anything done for entirely different reasons. The White House agenda is popular, but his obstacles are almost entirely institutional hurdles — the Senate operating as if every bill demands a supermajority, the Kennedy/Byrd illnesses, and the prevalence of center-right Dems in both chambers who look askance at the progressive agenda and who the president has no real leverage over.

A) As we’ve pointed out, the belief that the White House agenda is popular is not reflected at all in polling. Why Benen and the Democrats believe this can only be categorized as “denial”.

B) The Senate rules, something Senators agree too on their own, does require every bill have a supermajority. Benen wants those rules ignored for a simple majority that he’s sure they can squeak out. I understand his desire, but pretending that the “supermajority” is some artifice that isn’t required is BS.

C) The reason for the prevalence of center-right Dems reflects a majority center-right nation. Not a “progressive” nation. And, obviously if you pay attention to the polls, they’re not the only one’s who look askance at a “progressive agenda”.

The only thing Benen and I agree on is “the president has no real leverage” and he proves it every day.



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8 Responses to “Denial” Isn’t A River In Egypt

  • By the way, the Democrats passed a provision which will allow them through reconciliation to get health care passed with 51 votes in the Senate. The GOP is promising war if they do it, but the GOP is already declaring war, so the Democrats should simply be Machiavellian at this point.

    Also, filibustering every bill is not the tradition in the Senate, it is a misuse of the filibuster. The Democrats should change that rule too, it is not part of Senate tradition.

    • The good professor now supports the “nuclear option” ?

      • Yes, it’s amazing how Komrade Erb’s opinions change….I wonder what happened?

        Just remember Erb, payback is a b*tch

  • Ed at Hot Air raises an interesting point: Reconciliation could work to get Obamacare passed, unless the Republicans decide to *really* go to war. Instead of skipping parliamentary procedures as is normally done, they can require that each bill be read in its entirety at every appearance it makes on the Senate floor. With the mammoth size of the health care proposals being considered, this could effectively shut down government and keep congress from passing anything at all.

    Democrats want to believe that the opposition to Obamacare is just a tiny, noisy, Republican-funded minority, but polls say differently. If Democrats try to bypass Republicans and Republicans decide to shut things down, Democrats may have a very difficult time painting Republicans as the villains. Reconciliation could be what dooms Obamacare.

  • [I hope my html works!]

    I swear I have no idea what the left is smoking, but whatever it is, it makes them blind to reality.

    I believe the kids are calling it “Hopium.”

    Great analysis. There’s a huge, gaping maw of inconsistency between “The White House agenda is popular” and “center-right Dems in both chambers […] look askance at the progressive agenda.” What sort of mind can reconcile two such contradictory notions?

    Regarding the good professor and his contention:

    Also, filibustering every bill is not the tradition in the Senate, it is a misuse of the filibuster. The Democrats should change that rule too, it is not part of Senate tradition.

    I know history began on February 20th, 2009, but archeologists have exhumed the skeleton of a debate that went on waaaaaay back in 2005 regarding Senate rules and the filibuster.

    People across the country understand what it means to change the rules in the middle of the game, which is what the nuclear option would do. It would eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominees, a tradition of the Senate that’s been here for over 200 years.

    That’s Senator Dick Durbin(D) from an April 2005 episode of NewsHour on PBS. I cite PBS out of deference to you, Prof. Erb.

    I’m curious: You’re all for changing the rules in the middle of the game now, what was your opinion back then? Assuming, of course, you can remember a time before 1/20/09.

  • On “A”, I suspect that part of it is confusing the popularity of “doing something about health care costs” (something that I think is probably genuinely popular to some extent) with “doing the Democrat plan, since it is something“.

    Politicians have this tendency to confuse “we want something to be done” with “[therefore] we support you doing this particular thing“.

    You’d think they’d have learned better, but evidently not.

  • When someone in Washington says a given program is popular — even though there is no evidence of such popularity — then that has one of two meanings:

    First, it could be a case of ‘Talking your book’ which refers to a Wall Streeter who is hyping something he or she already owns in the hope that it goes up in price. Or, it could be code language that means that the program in question is popular with all the cool kids.