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Monday, December 14, 2009

"Waaah" is Not a Constitutional Right

I didn't get a chance to comment this weekend on Matthew Yglesias' ground-breaking announcement that the country has become "ungovernable" because the majority (Democrats) seem unable to run roughshod over the minority (Republicans) in the Senate:
We’re suffering from an incoherent institutional set-up in the senate. You can have a system in which a defeated minority still gets a share of governing authority and participates constructively in the victorious majority’s governing agenda, shaping policy around the margins in ways more to their liking. Or you can have a system in which a defeated minority rejects the majority’s governing agenda out of hand, seeks opening for attack, and hopes that failure on the part of the majority will bring them to power. But right now we have both simultaneously. It’s a system in which the minority benefits if the government fails, and the minority has the power to ensure failure. It’s insane, and it needs to be changed.
Instapundit takes credit for predicting this rejection of democratic (small "d") minority rights once Democrats (large "D") learned that the Constitution and Senate rules and traditions incorporate protections for political minorities.

Contrary to Yglesias, there are options other than going along to get along, or taking your lumps, or just dealing with it, or waiting until the next election.

The "why can't Republicans be more like us, or at least shut up" mantra is taking over the chattering classes. Steve Pearlstein's article, One problem with Republicans: They've got the wrong Mitch, which inspired Yglesias' post, argues that Republican's need to cooperate more in advancing the Democratic (large "D") agenda with some modifications, because Republicans are about to walk "off the political cliff." Me thinks Pearlstein doth protest too much.

What it all comes down to is a fundamental misunderstanding that the nation did not elect Democrats to pursue a liberal agenda. Democrats in Congress and Obama himself have fundamentally misread the mandate.

Yglesias and Pearlstein have cause and effect reversed. Democrats should be cooperating more with Republicans, not the other way around, because Republicans still incorporate the center-right national agenda. Democrats need to move to the center, Republicans do not need to move to the left.

And stop blaming Joe Lieberman. He was elected because Connecticut voters rejected the far-left candidate nominated by the Democratic Party. Again, Democrats need to be more like Independent Joe, not the other way around.

And that's why we have the system we do, to prevent self-aggrandizing politicians on either end of the political spectrum from running amok in delusions of grandeur.

Announcing that the nation is "ungovernable" is the intellectually lazy way out from people who are unwilling to compromise so they blame the lack of compromise on others.

The Yglesias/Pearstein formulation amounts to one big political "waaah," but "waaah" is not a constitutional right.

Related Posts:
Targeting Hadassah Lieberman
Dems to Lieberman: "You Lie"
10,000 Unnecessary Cancer Deaths (in Britain)
Grayson Death Number is Fiction

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  1. Almost entirely by himself--and outside of the Democratic Party--Joe Lieberman seems to be recreating the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party.

    Now if the Republicans can just recreate the Reagan wing of the Republican Party....

  2. Amen. In blaming the GOP minority, the Dems are really just shooting the messenger. The underlying problem for Reid is that about 60% of the public is opposed to this monstrosity. If 60% were in favor, Reid would have no problem finding enough votes for cloture.

    So why are 60% of the public opposed? I would offer two reasons: (1) The bills sucks. First, it obviously isn't going to accomplish anything in terms of reducing health care costs, which is all most people care about. Moreover, the suckitude of this bill appears to be more of a feature than a bug. The plan seems to be practically DESIGNED to destroy the health care sector so that in a few years the government will be "forced" to impose an outright single payer system.

    Reason (2): Obama brings absolutely nothing to the table in terms of leadership. HCR was supposed to be his no. 1 priority, yet Barry is off jetting around the world, making speeches to European elites, showing up on NFL broadcasts, and posing for magazine covers instead of rallying support for this thing. Compare Obama's performance on this initiative to the way Reagan worked in getting his tax cut package passed. The fact that Obama has left it to Harry Reid -- REID!! -- to become the face of this proposal amounts to criminal negligence.

  3. Someone should sit the Dems down and explan that the purpose of US Constitution is to protect the rights of the minority not to rubber stamp the ideas of the majority. What these dems are complaining about is the failure of the people of this country to relinquish their rights. In other words these dems would like to usher in a period of good old fashioned fascism...but is anyone really surprised?

  4. The silliest aspect of Inglesias whining is this: if public opinion was running 55-60% in favor of health care "reform," as conceived by Reid, et al., instead of 55-60% opposed, it's very unlikely that 40 GOP Senators, plus Lieberman, Nelson, and the other moderate Dems, would be willing or able to block it via the filibuster rule. Surely, the moderate Dems and at least three or four Republicans would climb on board to support one or another of the variations we've seen.

    Thus, it's the people who are blocking this, and what's more democratic than that. (Of course, the Senate's constitutional role was conceived to be that of a moderating force, and it's doing its job very nicely.)

  5. So why are 60% of the public opposed?

    You forgot reason #3: We're all brain-dead and therefore easily led by Big (Insurance, Pharma, etc. etc. etc. take your pick).

    At least many of the vocal Dems seem to think so. Why this isn't seen among the more moderate Dems (I'm sure there are a few) as one hell of condescening view of the electorate I have no idea.

  6. Just wandered over from GP, Once again, it's power for me, but not for thee from the left.

  7. What it all comes down to is a fundamental misunderstanding that the nation did not elect Democrats to pursue a liberal agenda. Democrats in Congress and Obama himself have fundamentally misread the mandate.

    Yglesias and Pearlstein have cause and effect reversed. Democrats should be cooperating more with Republicans, not the other way around, because Republicans still incorporate the center-right national agenda. Democrats need to move to the center, Republicans do not need to move to the left.

    Wow. I haven't seen anything that rich since Kirk wrote that Burke was conservative because he was liberal.

    Don't you think that if the voters wanted the Republican agenda, they could have just done some thing different last November - like actually vote for Republicans?

    Oh - and where were you on minority party rights during the previous regime? Just wondering . . .


  8. This reminds me of a song from My Fair Lady when Professor Higgins expresses his frustration and wants to know why women cannot be more like men....

  9. Then why did the nation elect Democrats? To get center-right policy?

    This is one of the silliest efforts at political analysis I've seen in a long time.

  10. @SJ

    silly? Really? It happens to be quite a good question.

    Why on earth should people who are middle of the road conservative move towards the left?

    There is a lot of bad feelings out there... in fact there are conservative middle of the road Dumbcrat voters who are in the process of going Independent or even turning to the Republicans. They are not in the slightest bit happy with what is happening... and it is over a large number of issues:

    1. Climate-gate
    2. Jennings the unsafe schools czar
    3. ACORN scandals
    4. misogynistic behaviour of Obot and minions towards Hillary and Sarah Palin
    5. Dithering over the war in Afghanistan
    6. response to the act of terrorism at Ft. Hood
    7. the over-emotional response to the death of Tiller the baby-killer;

    The problem is that at the 2008 election cycle many Republicans stayed home and the Obot Robots came out in droves. The problem is that the Obots were not really aware that the "Great Oz" did not know how many states there are in the USA or that he made a number of other errors. They also did not know the real truth about Sarah Palin. In other words the little robots drank the kool-aid.

  11. I see... the Democrats have 'fundamentally misread the mandate.' You didn't exactly let us know what the correct reading of the mandate was, beyond some easy, unqualified little bit about how we're still a center right country.

    But I'll give you a chance. In the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, every seat that changed hands switched from Republican to Democrat save one - and that guy got caught with cash stashed in his fridge. When one party is as uniformly rejected as the Republicans were, how exactly does the mandate end up being 'get along with the Republicans and do what the Republicans want to do'?

  12. Mr. Jacobson does not ask a question, Maggie. He simply asserts that when "Obots" came out in droves to elect a more-or-less liberal President that they really intended for him to pursue a center-right policy agenda.

    Because this makes sense only in the minds of people who think that giving their political opponents clever nicknames ("Obot Robot," "Great Oz") counts as logical argument in a policy discussion, I label it as "silly."

    Your list of issues consists mostly of manufactured outrage over further silliness. If you are not smart enough to know this, I can't help you. If you'd really like to know, however, why middle of the road conservatives might move to the left I can offer in response a list of big-C Conservative policies including redistribution of wealth from the poor to the wealthy and corporations, unecessary wars and nation-building, and institutional deficits created by the transfer of taxpayer money to pharmaceutical companies through the Republican Medicare bill.

    When liberals pass taxpayer money around, it at least goes to people who would otherwise starve to death or die from lack of health care. Many people--the ones who aren't pretending to care about "life" but can't be bothered to worry about babies once they are born--call this "social justice," but you wouldn't know anything about this, Life and Death notwithstanding.

  13. Evidence seems to show that a significant portion of the voters who selected Obama thought that they were voting for a centrist consensus-builder.

    Given how Obama expended so much effort projecting himself as a centrist consensus-builder, and given how the national media seemed to put forth its collective shoulder to help him build that image and bury the real Obama, the voters' mistake, while still egregously stupid, was at least understandable.

    To claim that that election represented a mandate to pursue the collectivization of America is dishonest in the extreme. You simply resent that the People, realizing that they were conned, don't feel honor-bound to lay back quietly and let Obama continue to screw them for his entir term.

  14. Jeez. Turn my back for 9 days and look what happens. Bobby - you are spewing nonsense. Obama has spent the first year of his term attempting to build consensus with a Republican party that has rejected every advance.

    Obama'a agenda is not, and has never been "collectivization." To make that absurd claim is egregiously (there, corrected the spelling for you) stupid, and not in the least understandable.

    Meanwhile, Repugnicants will attempt to vote down anything Pres Hussein wants, irrespective of content, because they are mindless naysayers who are only interested in making him fail.

    Sorry to leave the tea-bagger party, but I have a Christmas to celebrate.