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March 01, 2010

Democrats Rally Around Idea That They Have to Pass Unpopular Legislation to Prove They Can "Govern"

This thinking is simply wrong. It's the claim of archliberals and Obama cultists (the two are mostly overlapping groups) who wish to influence skeptics and moderates to vote in favor of political suicide.

Obama and the leftist partisans have been pushing ObamaCare on us for a full year now. The public has listened to the arguments and understands the basic parameters of the deal -- and has rejected it, not only by 60% majorities in polls, but by a watershed election in Massachusetts. Not to mention New Jersey and Virginia.

The public doesn't want this bill. Passing it would not be proof that Democrats can "govern." Passing it would instead by proof they can't govern-- at least not govern in a manner that the majority of the public finds acceptable.

When Bill Clinton was dealt a setback in 1994, he proved he could govern by pursuing a more moderate course, as he'd promised in the campaign but quickly forgot about after his inauguration. That was actually a stab at governing in a broadly-acceptable (if still left-leaning) manner.

This current notion -- that to "govern," a party must exercise pure transitory political power in the face of stiff resistance from the public -- has liberals all wild-eyed. They like this formulation because it achieves two things:

1) It allows them to continue cheerleading for their boyfriend-hero Obama without considering other consequences, and it does that by...

2) Positing that there are no trade-offs involved here. Liberals love pretending their are no trade-offs in life. It makes things so much simpler to claim that not only is torture wrong, torture also only results in false information. And so once again they come up with a fantasy formulation, in which Democrats not only vote the way their Liberal True Believers wish them to, but profit from it politically, because, somehow, the public becomes impressed with their ability to "govern," also known as "defying their clearly-expressed wishes."

Any rational person would conclude that passing this bill is politically disastrous, but Obama's SuperFans don't want to acknowledge that. They don't want to acknowledge that a "win" for Obama here means a big loss for liberals down the law. They are talking themselves crazy into buying the proposition it's pure win-win. (Or "Win-Win-Win," as Michael Scott says.)

It's bad enough that James Carville is now propagating this lunacy. Yes, Carville is a partisan liberal, but he's also a partisan liberal, if you know what I mean -- he's a pollster, and understands hard numbers, and should understand that ObamaCare can badly hurt the Democrats for years to come. He should be warning Democrats off this abortion.

But he's not. He says health care might be Obama's Waterloo, but phrases it in the win-win sort of way that leftist lunatics are so bewitched by:

On 'GMA' this morning, James Carville wasn't as optimistic as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Not sure that Democrats have the votes to pass the President's plan, Carville is sure that failure will be the "Waterloo" predicted by GOP Senator Jim DeMint. “If it goes down" Carville said, "it’s gonna be a simple statement: the Democrats can’t govern. They came in with a majority promising health care and they came away with nothing.”

They came in with a majority promising very vague health care reforms, and furthermore promising that such reforms would cost those with insurance nothing -- that it would even put money in the pockets of those with insurance, by reducing premium costs while increasing the standard of care.

That last part has been exposed as the lie it always was. Obama had a "mandate," to the extent he had one at all, to pass a purely fantasy have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too health care reform that delivered everything while costing nothing. That reform doesn't exist -- as it never existed. So what mandate does he have to pass a reform that does cost 80% of the public something in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, or reduced care?

As I said: A partisan but rational liberal should be making the case against this. But Carville's not -- the liberal base is too passionate about giving Barack Hussein Obama his all-important "momentum" and his stupid America-wounding victory to care about long- or even (mid-) term consequences. He can't speak honestly about this, just as Lawrence O'Donnell said of liberals a month ago: They are not free to speak the truth; they would be punished too much for daring to tell liberals that No, they can't ram an unpopular bill down the public's throat and remain popular with the public.

I've also noticed this change in Chris Matthews. Immediately after Scott Brown's election, he was arguing with Alan Grayson that reconciliation was virtually impossible with this bill, and that he ought to think realistically about Democrats' precarious political situation.

But now he's back on Team Obama, arguing that the Democrats must pass this, damn the consequences, just to prove they can "govern."

Dangerous. I'm getting worried again.

"They're Driving Themselves Crazy:" That's how Bill Kristol characterized liberals' talk of becoming even more out-and-proud liberal after their defeat in the 2002 polls. They convinced themselves that the path back to power lay not in moderation, but in being more overtly, honestly, and passionately leftist.

They did in fact pursue that course, sort of -- liberals became more liberals. But they only won Congressional seats because they nominated a bunch of centrists who could compete in red and purple states.

And Barack Obama won in 2008 because he was, the media insisted, a moderate -- more moderate than Hillary Clinton, and even closer to the center than noted firebrand ideologue John McCain.

Nevertheless, when liberals get into political trouble, their third course of action is always to convince themselves they just need to be more liberal.*

And recent history shows this isn't just talk.

* Their first course of action is to blame their candidates and call them incompetent -- putting the blame on the messenger, not the message -- and the second course of action is to blame the public for being too stupid to understand what they were saying.

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posted by Ace at 03:50 PM

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