Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Massachusetts Fail

I'm not sure how depressed I should be about Scott Brown's victory last night. Pretty fucking depressed, I guess, though... what's really depressing about it is even with 60 votes in the Senate, and a huge advantage in the house, the Democrats have barely gotten anything done in the last year. Obama is basically governing to the right of Nixon - and still can't get anything big passed. The GOP is a disgrace - they;ve stopped caring about government, they are united in their determination to thwart anything Obama tries to do - they will cause the dems to fail, and then run on the dems' inability to do anything... nice trick... The Democrats haven't learned any lessons from this, they refuse to play the same game - you'd think they'd learn to vote as a block and cram things through, and leave it to the voters to decide whether it was a good idea or not. But they don't. And they end up with disasters like this health care reform bill - not that it hasn't got some benefits (enough to deserve to pass - take what Evan talks about for starters) - but it does it without really getting at any of the underlying problems. It's ironic - the farther left the bill, the better the bill - at some point, I don't see any way to cut into costs without some kind of very strong public option... But that is what gets compromised out in an (ultimately pointless) effort to bring in conservative votes - leaving us with a bill that probably costs more than what we have now. (Though with more coverage, and maybe some chance of cost movement.) That's depressing....

Though the voters - I don't know.... There's not a lot of love for this health care bill - but it's astonishing to think that people would vote for a republican because they don't like this bill. The Republicans are not going to come up with a better alternative - they are satisfied with what we have. Their strategies are depressing - block the democrats and run on the dems' failures; make government useless, and run on the fact that government is useless; convince people that they can't change things, that politicians are corrupt and incompetent, and get them to vote for style and slogans; do all you can to eliminate actual policy choices in politics, and all you can to keep people from thinking about the policy choices they are voting for. Create frustration and run on frustration. Convince people politics is too complicated to understand, that the world is frightening and they are weak, teach them to whine about the government while accepting government authority.

Oh well. It's very strange to treat an election that reduces the democratic majority from 60-40 to 59-41 like a disaster - unfortunately, given the recent track records of both parties, the increasing dysfunction of the Senate, and the bizarre inability of the public to actually realize there aren't any republicans like Edward Brooke anymore - it's hard to see this not being a disaster....

3 comments:

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
weepingsam said...

I do think a big part of it is structural - the filibuster lets Senators kill anything they want to... and the GOP is committed to preventing the passage of any bill.... it's not easy getting around that. There's still no excuse for the way Lieberman, Nelson and so on have acted - and the administration and leadership has been way too passive. They should have cracked the whip a couple times, especially on Lieberman. More than Al Franken cutting him off when his time runs out... I don't know what will change. Maybe they would get more done if the split were 53-47 - though I can't imagine they'd do much better...

Anonymous said...

You can't really expect the state to accomplish things. I mean they do accomplish things, but they don't generate any public goods, just state goods. Like any organism, the state pursues its own interests.

The very nature of progress demands individual activity, rather than centralized planning and enforcement. If you want national free access to health-care, you've got to invest in the services that will do it right. Not force everyone to invest in one system of provision.

Expecting politicians to promote the public good is literally and exactly like expecting priests to promote the will of god. There is no god, so there is no will to promote except their own. Likewise there is no state and no public good to promote, just special interests.

The problem isn't that republicans are stubborn, the problem is that with the compulsory state system, they have the power to force everyone to fund their agenda. Without the state, they'd be forced to fund it themselves, and would quickly find out that which liberals already know, the conservative agenda is not economically viable.