Friday, August 28, 2009

On notice

Ross Douchehat is right (and God damn Max Baucus to hell for making me write that):

If the Congressional Democrats can’t get a health care package through, it won’t prove that President Obama is a sellout or an incompetent. It will prove that Congress’s liberal leaders are lousy tacticians, and that its centrist deal-makers are deal-makers first, poll watchers second and loyal Democrats a distant third. And it will prove that the Democratic Party is institutionally incapable of delivering on its most significant promises.
I can (and do) quibble about Douchehat's reference to "Congress's liberal leaders," since the only liberal in a leadership position is Nancy Pelosi. But he's absolutely nail-on-the-head right about the centrist deal-makers. This is, as Douchehat says, a once-in-a-generation opportunity for liberals to pass health care reform. This was the issue that Democrats ran on last year, and it was this issue that got the American people to send a Democratic president to the White House and bulk up the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. This is, as Douchehat so rightly puts it, a test of the Democratic Party's ability to govern.

So, if the Democrats can't deliver on the promise they made to voters last year and give them a decent health care reform initiative, they will have proven that they are unable to govern. The GOP's stunning losses in the 2006 and 2008 elections were a direct result of the public perception that they couldn't govern -- six years in the driver's seat and all they could deliver were two endless, unwinnable, unnecessary wars, an executive branch full of incompetent party hacks, epic budget deficits, and a Constitution in shreds. Of course, you would expect a party that hates government to be bad at governing, and the Republicans proved that you'd be right.

But if the Republicans proved that they can't govern, the Democrats seem determined to prove that they won't govern. They spend all their time trying to compromise with the uncompromising Republicans, which is a gourmet recipe for failure. They refuse to promote their policies with the public, then use the public's indifference to their policies as an excuse for failing to implement them. The Democrats have turned timidity into an art form; even though they hold all the cards, they keep folding.

The simple fact is, the Democrats are proving that they are too weak to govern.

So, the Democrats are on notice: if they blow this once-in-a-generation chance to turn a good policy into good government, they're dead to me. I'll be jumping ship to the Greens. Go ahead and let the Republicans regain power. Go ahead and let them turn America into the Republic of Gilead. If the Democrats can't get this issue of all issues right, then America is fucked anyway, and it might as well be the Republicans who do the fucking.

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