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The Baucus Debacle: So Democrats Can Win an Election But Can They Govern?

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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:28 PM
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The Baucus Debacle: So Democrats Can Win an Election But Can They Govern?

The Baucus Debacle: So Democrats Can Win an Election But Can They Govern?
Why Democrats Have to Stop Trying to Woo Republican Lawmakers
by Mitchell Bard
September 17, 2009

For most of George W. Bush's two terms in office, especially during the key period from 2002 to 2006, he had a solidly Republican Congress with which to work. So, despite a razor-thin win in 2000 (losing the popular vote and, in the minds of many, only winning the electoral vote thanks to a flawed, partisan Supreme Court decision), and another narrow victory in 2004, as president, Bush made no effort to moderate his agenda and pursue bipartisan legislation. His party allies in Congress loyally backed nearly all of his proposals, and Bush gleefully rammed through his far-right conservative agenda (massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, etc.), which was well to the right of his campaign rhetoric (remember, he was a "compassionate conservative"), without thinking twice about what Democrats thought of what he was doing. His razor-thin margin of victory (and even the fact that fewer people voted for him than his opponent in 2000) didn't stop him (or his allies in Congress) from moving full-speed ahead with legislation he supported.

Flash forward to 2008. The American people, via their votes, absolutely and unquestionably repudiated the Republican policies of the previous eight years. After giving Democrats narrow advantages in the House and Senate in 2006, voters really "threw the bums out" in 2008, leaving Democrats with a 60-40 majority in the Senate (once Al Franken was seated) and an even more commanding 256-178 lead in the House. The American people also overwhelmingly elected a Democrat to the presidency, handing Barack Obama 365 electoral votes (to 173 for John McCain), with 53 percent of the popular vote going to Obama and only 46 percent to McCain. In two elections, Bush never came close to these kinds of numbers. And Obama managed to win red states like North Carolina and Indiana that few commentators thought the Democrats could even have a chance of taking just a couple of years earlier.

In short, the American people said to the Democrats: We want you to do your thing.

And yet, that isn't what has happened. Instead, the Democrats in Congress have been timid, looking for Republican support (and making concessions to get it) even though they didn't need it. At first, it was an admirable pursuit, an effort to leave partisan bickering behind and concentrate on solving the massive problems the current administration and Congress inherited from the disastrous presidency that preceded them. And it was something the president not only supported, but actively pursued. But in the first big legislative test of the bipartisan approach, the stimulus bill, not a single House member voted for the legislation, and only a pair of Republicans in the Senate signed on (it was three, but Arlen Specter later became a Democrat, leaving just Maine's two senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, as current Republicans who voted for the bill).

The result was weaker stimulus legislation (to try and lure Republicans), but no Republican support. That is a lose-lose for the Democrats (and those suffering from the recession), and a win-win for the Republicans.

The stimulus bill should have been a wake-up call for Democrats in Congress. The way the Republicans stood united in opposition despite Democratic efforts at bipartisanship should have announced loud and clear that the Republicans had no intention of acting reasonably. They had successfully closed ranks, ensuring that not one single Republican in the House voted for the bill and that they didn't help the president succeed on something that might be viewed as a "win" for him. It should have been a "fool me once" moment from which the Democrats emerged wiser, going forward with the knowledge that the Republicans were only out to obstruct (it was the moment of birth for the Party of No). It should have emboldened Democrats to say, "We won 256 House seats, 60 Senate seats and the presidency. We get to make the rules now. Your guy pushed through his agenda after losing the popular vote. We tried to be nice, and you kicked crap in our faces. We're done. Have fun on the sidelines watching us enact our agenda."

The Democrats won overwhelmingly last November. Now they have to govern. Especially after the way Republicans played them for fools on the stimulus legislation, Democrats don't have to kowtow to Republicans. They need to get in a room and come up with health care legislation that the 59 Democratic senators (after Ted Kennedy's passing) -- or 51 of them if they go the reconciliation route --and 218 House members can get behind (and that the president will sign) and get it done. If Republicans want to filibuster, vote no, complain, spew lies, hold rallies, go on talk shows, call Obama a socialist, and throw temper tantrums, let them. I am not saying the Democrats shouldn't fight the public relations battle and shoot down the lies slopped to the public by health care reform opponents, I'm just saying they should do it while passing legislation on their own.

Please read the complete article at:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:34 PM
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:54 PM
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2. Most Dems in congress hate the Baucus Bill. Baucus Bill is more a less a GOP production, it is DOA
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:56 PM
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3. Ganging up on Baucus: Senator's plan garners bipartisan grumbles
A thread right above yours.


Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) finally introduced his much-anticipated healthcare reform bill Wednesday and was rewarded with a chorus of disapproval from both the left and the right.

The Finance Committee chairman has huddled for months with a bipartisan Gang of Six senators in hope of devising a compromise

But it hasnt worked, at least not yet. The right hates it, the left thinks its weak and the center may not be as broad as Baucus hoped.

As he unveiled the bill, Baucus stood by himself, a lonely, but upbeat figure on a podium in his committees stately hearing room. The gangs three Republicans made clear they were not on his side.

Baucuss bill and his exclusion of all but two other Democrats from negotiations met with ambivalence to downright rejection from most Democrats, especially liberals.
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:43 PM
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4. I just wish the Democrats would listen
to the people who voted them into power. There is no fucking reason for them to bend over back wards like they have for the republicans, maybe they can't govern.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:57 PM
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5. maybe they figure they won because people didn't like the Boosh method
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