Partisanship! It’s good for winning!

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    I agree with what you say here J, but at the end of the day the Democratic Party isn’t a party. It’s (at least) 2 parties. Since the New Deal Coalition fell through, Democrats don’t have a unified platform or center pole around which everyone can tie. That’s why I think they rely so heavily on charismatic individuals (Clinton, Obama).

    The last coalition was obviously the Reganite one (fiscal cons, social cons, and neocons). That’s failed and now we’ve entered this weird phase where neither party can create a governing majority. The Democrats at this point should be that natural party, but their apparatus as a party is as a series of interest groups which when it comes to issues like health care end up clashing.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

      I don’t disagree Chris, but I’d -love- for you to expand on that thought. If the Dems were to schism into two parties what do you think they’d look like?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Wow, this is a great question.

        Off the top of my head, I can think of:

        Blue-collar social conservatives who support the idea of the social safety net (Catholics who weren’t peeled off by the abortion debate… Jewish-Americans are the White-Collar version of this).

        Teachers/Policemen/Postal Workers/TSA Agents/Trial Lawyers/Etc…

        Minority Ethnic Groups that Republicans have gone out of their way to alienate (pretty much everybody except maybe Asian-Americans).

        One-bitten, Twice-Shy Green Party voters.Report

      • Avatar Jamelle in reply to North says:

        That is a fantastic question.

        I think the Democrats split pretty nicely into two parties: the first is a broadly center-left party, based in New England and the West Coast, with a few seats here and there in the Rust Belt. And the second is simply a “Blue Dog” party of center-right Democrats from rural, Western and the occasional Southern area.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Thank you both. I think you could both be right. Do you think libertarians would be able to find a home in either of them? Oddly enough I’d think that the leftward one might actually be more libertarian friendly than the centrist section since the centrists would be more socially conservative presumably and very friendly to unions and thus inclined to be unfriendly to anti union forces (like globalization).

        Another thought. If we became a 3 party system do you think this would assure republican dominance? Would the new center party become the natural ruling party? I don’t think the left wing party would have enough electoral beef to muster up majority margins. Or do you think we’d have diminished but still dominant Dems and Republicans with the new center party squeezed between them playing the role of courted power broker? Goodness, now that I think about it with 3 parties we’d have the possability of minority governments. What would the House and Senate look like then??Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to North says:

          There’s something I’m having a little bit of trouble with here. A few days ago, Jamelle, you posted a good, short post on the importance of passing good legislation.

          “As I’ve said many – many – times, congressional Democrats need to realize that their electoral fortunes are tied directly to passing good legislation. ”

          Then in this post after discussing the importance of popular legislation , you conclude with, “After all, Democrats won’t be punished for partisanship, they’ll be punished for failure.”

          Now for health care you assert that the liberal (presumably partisan) legislation is actually good legislation and thus will be popular, effective, and earn the Democrats electoral good will. Which is a neat and tidy solution to a problem. Without which, Dems would be facing either failure at the hands of no legislation or failure at the hands of unpopular bipartisan legislation. Lucky for them.

          However, following your logic, polls be damned, Democrats will face electoral punishment if they compromise or do nothing. So they should – to win electorally – double down on their own awesomeness and then the public will reward them. Which, to be honest, I would believe because the public likes a winner. Though, I don’t see how logically, that’s any different from what the Republicans were thinking circa 2003 and onward. That thinking, I would say, accounts for a big part of why the Republicans would enact/stick with/pursue failed policies in the first place.

          Sure there’s a chance that all Republican ideas ever are bad and destined to fail but it seems far more likely that when the only barometer for job performance Republicans cared about was whether or not they still had their job, they lost the ability to discern between voter unease and voter anger.

          So if that’s the case and Dems follow your advice, doesn’t that make them all the more likely to hit a legislative land mind in their carelessness and fail as spectacularly as the Republicans did?Report

  2. I full-heartedly support this partisan approach.Report

  3. Avatar chuck says:

    I don’t think this health care plan would be a problem if Tip O’Neill were still running the House and there was the same or even smaller majority in the Senate. I’ve seen close hand much more interesting things pass. There seems to be absolute abhorance among the leadership of stepping on anybody’s feet when there are any number of thousands of ways to get the average congressperson or senator to vote the way that is wanted on such an important thing to this Administration’s agenda.Report

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