Thursday, September 03, 2009

Don't Elect Democrats(?)

One of the most interesting aspects of this debacle, at least from a theoretical standpoint, is the preferences being shown by the Democrats and Republicans respectively. It's a big deal from a strategic point of view.

A significant number of Dems, and at the very least a few in the White House, value bipartisanship over almost anything else. They're willing to sacrifice anyone and anything in order to get an "R" on their side. That's the whole reason the Health Care bill is being gutted and turned into a shadow of what America actually needs.

The Republicans, on the other hand, couldn't give a damn about bipartisanship. Remember, according to Republicans, "bipartisanship is another word for date rape". They'll take the support if it's offered, but they don't need to, because they know that one of these bipartisanship-hungry Dems will do it for them.

So, fine. Dems are gutless cowards. But what does this mean for you, the American citizen? It means that you might not want to vote for a Democratic Senatorial candidate, even if you agree with what he or she believes, if you have a relatively moderate Republican Senator.

Why? Well, think about it. As the Republicans lose seats, the remaining Republicans are going to be more and more extreme in their views. They have to be, otherwise they face serious primary challenges. If the Dems try to go to one of these Republicans for the all-important "R" on the bill, they will have to give up a lot.

But here's the key part: the fewer the Republicans, the more right-wing the legislation will have to be to get that "R". You end up in an odd situation where it doesn't matter how many Dems you have in either house, because the key vote here isn't a Democratic one, it's a Republican one. The Democrats, spineless that they are, have given the Republicans an effective veto, and the key question is what kind of Republican gets that veto.

So what's the incentive for voting in another Democratic Senator? There isn't one. As long as they have a bare majority they'll control the committee appointments. As long as they give the Republicans a veto, it's in your interest to have as many moderate Republicans in the Senate as possible—you have to get past that veto. Voting in more Dems will just mean worse Republicans and worse legislation.

Sure, the House is different. Vote for as many House Democrats as you see fit, nobody in the House supports this idea of a Republican veto. Remember the magic phrase, mind you—"If you vote for a bill without a public option I'll do eveything I can to elect your primary opponent" is still the operating principle here—but this veto thing isn't an issue.

Remember, it doesn't matter to you, as citizens, which team is holding the ball. What you want is good legislation and good government. Whatever gets that is in your interest.

So go ahead. Vote for a moderate Republican Senator, or just stay home, or vote for a third party. If the Dems's ridiculous, insipid embrace of a Republican veto means that their interest in more Senate seats contradicts your interest in a good government, then TO HELL WITH 'EM.

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