Friday, November 14, 2008

Silly season.

I know we're all a bit giddy with the election results, but some generally sensible folk around the left blogosphere really need to take some deep breaths. In the first of a few examples, Kevin Drum opines...
The public face of his economic policy, after all, was almost entirely based on tax cuts, a distinctly conservative notion.
Kevin, do you really want to cede that ground? What in the world is illiberal about tax cuts as such? Wouldn't a tax cut that's part of a program to increase the progressivity of the tax code be, well, progressive?

Over at Best of the Blogs, Leftcoast is worried about Congressional cooperation...
The Pugs are in disarray, perhaps for a generation, but the Dems face the same fate, particularly if Pelosi and Reid dig in and become as obstructionist to Obama as the Dem congress was to Clinton in 1992.
With all due respect to St. Bill, if Obama tosses over his health care proposals in favor of Clinton's Insurance Industry Enrichment…erm…Health Security Act, or introduces a sweeping new transcontinental free trade deal that ignores US labor and environmental interests, or attempts to dismantle the next layer of Great Society programs in the name of "small" government, well, I hope Nancy, Harry and each and every one of their Democratic colleagues dig as deep need be.

Of course, I don't expect any of that to occur under an Obama administration. It will be different, I believe, but not likely as different as Leftcoast seems to believe…
If we have chosen a new politics, which I believe we have, we abandoned virtually all of the old paradigm, at least for now. Race doesn’t matter, liberal vs. conservative doesn’t matter. Red state vs. blue state doesn’t matter. The electorate agreed overwhelmingly with Obama that we have no time for that...
In America, race always matters. Liberal vs. conservative still matters. Red state vs. blue state never mattered.

And the only thing I'm sure the electorate overwhelmingly agreed on was that Bush has been a disaster. Most of them thought McCain was a little too much like Bush. People are ready for change, but I suspect most people don't have a very well defined policy framework to represent the change they're ready for. The notion, though, that last week's election outcome swept aside all ideological, racial and social divisions once and for all misreads the landscape and overlooks the hazards before us.

Country Doc looks at the coming health care debate from a similar "way-new" politics approach, calling the Obama health care plan...
"…an undertaking that necessitates a non-political and non-partisan approach…"
Doc's point was made in a case against placing Tom Daschle in a key health care role because he's too tainted with the traditional wheeling and dealing of the other Washington. I haven't really assessed Daschle's fitness for the role, but being well acquainted with key legislators and knowing how to move legislation wouldn't be disqualifying factors in my book. Sorry, Doc, but any legislative project of this scale is inherently political, and if you think it won't be partisan, I refer you to the Republican platform. These are people who think the progressive income tax is Marxist. Non-partisan is a non-starter.

Of course, we can always avoid fighting them by becoming them, I suppose. It seems to be where John Aravosis is headed with this...
Reid has the power to remove Joe Lieberman's committee chair and/or kick him out of the Democratic caucus. Yes, Lieberman has to be put up to a vote before the full Democratic caucus. But if Reid were a real leader, he could get his way in a snap. No one is going to challenge their leader if he says that he absolutely wants Lieberman out. At least that's the way it works on the Republican side of the aisle. There, discipline matters. And it shows in how they vote.
Yep, we do things different, alright. We use a democratic system that respects the will of the members, each elected by their constituents to the same office as the leader. Our leader is first among equals, the servant, for a time, of the members who elected him, just as under our Constitution the president is just a citizen, elevated for a time as first among his equals (that's us). Sometimes some of the members will disagree with the leader, sometimes most of them will. It's the inevitable result of the "big tent" approach to party building.

Sometimes that system will produce a result that some, or many, of us won't like much. On the other hand, we know that the only thing the way they do it can successfully produce is disaster. I'll take my chances with our frequently messy and periodically frustrating way of doing things.

I mean, sheesh. Everybody breathe.

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