Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finally, Howard Dean and I Agree on Something

Howard Dean: Kill the Senate Bill
Bipartisanship reigns! I don't agree with his argument for reconciliation, but killing this monstrosity would be most beneficial for Americans, not that Democrats care about those people.

But socialized medicine was the point, after all, and not putting us on the road to it makes the whole effort a waste of time, doesn't it?

"I don't see what we've accomplished," (California Rep. Lynn) Woolsey said. "If we were going to have insurance reform, we could have done that very simply. If we don't have a public option and at the very least we don't have a Medicare buy in then we aren't offering any competition to the insurance industry."

There were those of us telling them all along that Americans wanted insurance reform, not government health care. But did those silly Democrats listen? Hellz, no! Because it was never about doing what the American people wanted.
Even if there's a strategic rationale for doing it, why are Democrats dead-set on hurting themselves?

"Because they think they know what's best for the public," the strategist said. "They think the facts are being distorted and the public's being told a story that is not entirely true, and that they are in Congress to be leaders. And they are going to make the decision because Goddammit, it's good for the public."

This is the difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives think you have a right to make your own choices and suffer (or rejoice in) the consequences of them. Liberals think they know better than you do and it doesn't matter what you want. You're stupid.

Now, liberals are left wondering why Republicans governed more effectively with fewer votes. This author gets it partly right:
What the GOP lacked in numbers, they made up for in backbone, cunning and leadership. Say what you will about George Bush, he wasn't afraid of a fight. If anything, the Bush administration, and the Republicans in Congress, seemed to relish taking on Democrats, and seeing just how far they could get Democratic members of Congress to cave on their promises and their principles. Hell, even Senator Barack Obama, who once famously promised to lead a filibuster against the FISA domestic eavesdropping bill, suddenly changed his mind and actually voted for the legislation. Such is the power of a president and a congressional leadership with balls and smarts

This is only partly right. Republicans have had plenty of practice being called selfish, racist, Nazis and so on, so GOPers have learned to ignore much of that stupidity. Instead, they focus on what's important: keeping the country safe, helping people keep more of their own money, growing our economy, spreading democracy and its benefits around the world.

Furthermore, George W. Bush's accomplishments spread beyond the legislation John Aravosis lists. Bush also reached out to Democrats and signed some of their pet legislation into law, such as No Child Left Behind and the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. He offered these olive branches to try to persuade more Democrats to support his ideas (not that it helped much). What olive branches has President Obama offered Republicans?

Aravosis argues that President Bush used the bully pulpit to put pressure on his opposition, appealing to the American people and rallying his own party. But Barack Obama was supposed to be the great communicator and he has made numerous speeches supporting his ideas and initiatives. IOW, talk (or lack thereof) isn't the problem.
President is supposed to rally the country, effectively putting pressure on opposition members of Congress to sit down and shut up.

President Bush never tried to silence his critics. They were quite vociferous over the eight years of GWB's presidency. The key difference is that Bush administration officials and Republicans in Congress offered good rebuttals to Democrat talking points. There was no need to bully or silence the minority; logic overruled them.

But now we have huge Democrat majorities in Congress led by radicals complaining that they can't get moderates to sign on to their leftwing programs (not that we're seeing any stories about the "civil war" for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, mind you), and rather than scaling back their plans and accepting what civility and bipartisanship really mean, they want to whine, complain, and scrap everything because it's not enough.

I'm happy to watch the Democrats eating their own, but it seems to me this is the very essence of a civil war. The Dems ended up here because they misread the 2008 elections (see Aravosis' temper tantrum at the end) and are still insisting on cramming through a lot of batshit crazy stuff at a time that Americans don't have the stomach for it. It's not that you shouldn't let a crisis go to waste; it's that this is not the 1930s and Americans aren't buying the Dems' solutions to our economic woes. Happily, the mid-term elections may right all this.