Yesterday’s post elicited a response reading in part:
If we gave the Democrats power next year, you know what they would have? A mandate. That’s all we would hear about until the next election, which they would lose, because they thought they had a mandate. It’s like watching a tennis match and rooting for the guy without the ball.
Maybe the Republicans made it tough on Obama. Maybe Obama wasn’t leader enough to overcome it. Did the GOP fail to vote in Obama’s FOMC appointee’s? Yes. Did Obama make recess appointments which were within his power? No. Obama is not a victim, he’s the president. If the other guys played the system better to get what they want, than well played.
Ezra says that this is the logical conclusion of a system biased toward gridlock. The system is broken. Let’s fix the system instead of kickin the can down the road.
I certainly agree the system is broken. My preference would be to fix that. However, we have repeatedly failed to fix those problems. It would be great to see substantive campaign finance reform, have the Fed refocused on NGDP goals, revise Senate rules so that a super-majority isn’t required for everything, institute lobbying controls so legislation wasn’t ghost-written by special interests… I could go on. But the likelihood of any of those being addressed this year is vanishingly small. Not that we should give up on those reforms, but that there remain practical short term things we can fix in the meanwhile.
I’m also an independent. I’ve voted for Republicans in the past, and I’d like to do so again. But the current incarnation of the party has gone beyond the pale, and until they find their way back to sanity, I will not vote on the GOP line. They have not only lost any willingness to compromise, they have lost the ability to agree to their own positions when the other side agrees with them. They lost the election in ’08, and have yet to acknowledge the legitimacy of the people we elected. Win or lose, there’s still a country to run. And they are refusing unless they are put back into power.
I’m not claiming Obama is the greatest, or that the Democrats are above playing politics or fighting for their policy positions. But they have not engaged in the extreme intransigence of the GOP. If given full control of the government, would they eventually yield to the same sort of behavior the GOP is showing? Very probably. But that won’t happen overnight. Policy-wise, Obama is far closer to Reagan than Romney. There is almost no chance the Democrats would take a mandate and run to the extreme left. It’s much more likely they will stick to their current centrist proposals. Meanwhile, the GOP gets to go lick its wounds, expunge its extremists, and return to the center-right position of its roots. Hopefully, to again balance the system out in 2014 or 2016; before the pendulum swings too far the other way.
I don’t want a permanent Democratic majority. I want a functional two-party system with give and take from both sides resulting in actual governance that works in aggregate for the betterment of the citizenry. We do not have that now. And we don’t because one party has checked out of the game. The notion that “both sides do it” is a false equivalence. The Republican party has abdicated its responsibility to govern or even functionally participate in any government it does not control. It has pretty much given up on appealing to (or even tolerating) anyone other than white Christian males. It needs to remake itself or yield to a new party that will fill the void it leaves behind. The only way it will get that message is if it is resoundingly defeated. And not just at the Presidential level. If the GOP does okay at the federal and state level excepting Romney, it will read that as a failure to go with somebody more radical like Santorum. It only gets the message if it goes down in flames. And to be clear, the only reason I want it to go down in flames is so its old moderate reasonable self rises from the ashes.
I want the Republican party back. I don’t know what the hell that thing is hiding behind the elephant right now. But I’m not voting for it.