Saturday, November 14, 2009

A First

A Charles Blow column that doesn't render FLG apoplectic.
The party that wins the White House generally loses Congressional seats in the midterm, but this Democratic-controlled government has particular issues.

FLG completely agrees with the first clause because he believes Americans have a preference for divided government. He also agrees with the second clause, but not for all the reasons Blow cites. Blow's conclusion is that the Democrats haven't enacted enough of their agenda and they are beset by obstacles that make them unpopular. FLG says the agenda is unpopular and the obstacles are in their way largely because of that unpopularity. However, FLG will say that the Republicans are reflexively obstructionist in a way that's unhelpful.


Withywindle said...

What precisely are we not supposed to be obstructing?

FLG said...

It's more about the reflexivity.

The country needs health care reform. I have huge problems with the Dems plan, but the Republicans seem happy simply to oppose.

Andrew Stevens said...

A lot of times I agree. For example, it is common for a minority party who wants some huge reform to obstruct the majority party who are offering a half-reform in order to preserve the issue. This is obstructionism for obstructionism's sake (or, more accurately, for politics' sake). However, I don't think the Republicans can be blamed here. McCain and other Republicans have outlined what they would regard as good health care reform and they believe the Democrats' plan isn't a halfway reform, but a cure worse than the disease. I think obstructionism in such a case is justified.

Now, if the Democrats were offering a halfway reform of Social Security and Republicans were refusing to go along, then one could accuse them of reflexive opposition.

Withywindle said...

As Andrew said, this health care reform does seem worse than the status quo. There's also the question of whether the country "needs" health care reform, or is happy enough to putter along with minor changes at most. And let's not forget that the Republicans can oppose, but have no power to obstruct.

Andrew Stevens said...

I do actually believe that employer-provided health care is an antiquated system, arrived at by accident in the past, and wholly inappropriate to the modern mobile work force. And it was arrived at by weird and inequitable federal tax treatment. (Employers can deduct health insurance they buy for their employees, but you can't deduct health insurance you buy for yourself.) So obviously there's plenty of room for reform that anyone can get behind.

mw (Dividist) said...

It is important to remember that there is a Democratic President, an eighty vote Democratic plurality in the House, and a 60-40 filibuster proof Democratic plurality in the Senate. It is mathematically impossible for the Republicans to obstruct anything. Full stop.

I know it is more fun to bash Republicans, but the worst (best) you can say about them, is that they are not helping the President to overcome Democratic obstructionism.

They are under no obligation to provide political cover to Democrats for their very bad bills and insane spending.

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