Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Politics 101

I may have mentioned this before, but I just finished responding to a Daily Kos comment that struck me as incredibly dense and thought I would expand on my thoughts here. That commenter (who was responding to an earlier comment of mine) asked me if I was actually a Republican (haw!), because I had said that what those of us to the left of Obama want was for the Democratic Party to propose decent legislation and then fight for it, rather than passing weakened bipartisan-ish garbage. Her/his response is typical of the whole "Obama can do nothing, but what he does is brilliant!" crowd. I paraphrase: "What? You'd rather have nothing done?" To which I answer, "You're goddamned right I'd rather have nothing done--if the alternative is going to be bad." I simply don't understand these people that insist that "stuff has to get done", but have no concerns about the quality of that "stuff." I agree that the government has to continue to function, but there comes a time when we're going to have to stare the Republican children down and say "no more!" and the sooner we do it, the sooner we can begin to recover our country's bearings. (It doesn't help at all that these people are taking their direction from the very top of our party. President Obama has done more to restore the good name of the Republican Party than anyone since LordGodKing Reagan himself, and in neither case has it helped the country.)
To all those who think crap legislation like the ACA (the health insurance "reform" bill) is better than anything we could have gotten, I say, "You're right. And since this was the best we could have gotten, we should have dumped it in the garbage where it belongs and proposed something worthwhile instead and get the votes on it." And since we actually already had a decent bill in the hopper, passed by Nancy Pelosi's House, it wouldn't have taken much time at all. What would that have done for us?
1) We wouldn't be on record as supporting tepid legislation that won't do anything to solve the real problem of health care costs and outcomes in this country.
2) We would have shown the country that the Democratic Party has some ideals.
3) We would have shown the country that the Democratic Party cares about things like health care costs and outcomes in favor of the patients instead of the insurers.
4) Lastly, and maybe most importantly for the long run, we would have had the Republicans on record as having opposed not only the good legislation, but also as having voted in favor of big business and against every single person in the country who ever has been, or ever will be, sick/injured/dying. (Everybody, that is.)
What these would have done for the Democrats is to have provided them one of the easiest platforms for running a political campaign in the history of the nation. Even a hard core libertarian would have had to swallow her/his vote for a Republican as a vote against her/his own health. (The teabaggers probably would not have been created--if you remember, the baggers formed in response to the health care legislation "debate", and it's quite possible that if the Dems had acted swiftly and aggressively in fighting for good legislation the funders wouldn't have had the time to react and build this "movement.") The campaign lit would have written itself, just about. "We voted to give you healthcare, and they voted against it." I mean, it's not that hard, is it? Instead, those of us who could see this and spoke out got told to shut up, stop whining, and to let the "adults in the room" handle it. Fast forward to post-2010 election day, and we're the ones getting blamed for undercutting the party and causing the historic losses.
This scenario could and should have been repeated for every single bill that was proposed. Eventually, even the densest Republican voter would have gotten it--gee, they really don't like me; they keep voting against what I want!
Yes, no (good) legislation would have made it past the filibuster in the Senate, but that's no different from what we have now, is it? And instead of having some clear distinctions between the two parties, we have a severely disaffected left wing that sees no distinctions between "D" and "R", and no matter how much scolding we receive--indeed, in inverse relation to the amount of denigration we get--we can still see the Emperor has no clothes.

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