Friday, December 10, 2010

Self Defeating Democrats

One thing that I don’t get is the Democratic refusal, including a presidential refusal, to allow Republicans to pay the price of their intransigence. If it appears that Republicans are going to block a piece of legislation, rather than bring the legislation to a vote and letting the Republicans block it, they cancel the legislation and “negotiate” it down to something that Republicans will vote for. They seem to fear that if they try to pass something and are prevented by the Republicans then they, the Democrats, will be seen as some sort of losers.

Do they not remember the government shutdown of 1995, and who came out better in that one? Republicans tried to bully a Democratic president, and promptly got shellacked by public opinion. Clinton’s approval rating skyrocketed and that of Congress went into the basement. The government restarted pretty much on Bill Clinton’s terms.

Why not bring a progressive, populist tax bill to the floor, let the Republicans block it, and then go to the American people and let public opinion determine the outcome? There is not much doubt what would happen, tax cuts for the rich are immensely unpopular and Republicans would not be able to withstand the pressure for very long.

Democrats have used this since they took control of Congress. They will not allow a bill to come to a vote unless they know in advance that they have enough votes to pass the bill. They seem to be in thrall to some fear of being seen as inferior to Republicans if the Republicans are able to stop passage of legislation.

Rather than allowing public opinion to punish Republicans for obstructing passage of popular legislation, they become that target of the public’s ire by not even bringing the legislation to a vote, or by compromising it into oblivion. That’s just weird.

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention the fact if they voted en bloc on "democratic issues" they still have the majority to pass legislation. Instead they have internal squabbling and gridlock. The Rubs don;t have to do anything in many cases, the Dems do it to themselves.