07 July 2007

Uniters or dividers?

Ezra Klein on Republican political strategy.
If the Buddha and Machiavelli had a child, this would be the type of liberation he'd speak about: Liberation from the suffering imposed by democratic checks and balances. It is a liberation George W. Bush has pursued with a single-minded vigor.
And now, in the latter half of his second term, at 20-some percent in the polls, he has achieved full liberation from shackles of public opinion and congressional approval.
He goes on to observe that this is not just Bush, it's a general Republican strategy right now.
“Hastert and DeLay's insight,” wrote Schmitt, “seems to be that a bill that gets 218 votes in the House is just as much the law as one that gets 430. And for every vote they add on to the necessary minimum majority, they might have to compromise in some unnecessary way, whether with Democrats or their own fiscal conservatives. In other words, they see every vote over a bare majority as the equivalent of leaving money on the table or overbidding in an auction.”
And if that was to be your strategy, there was no sense in letting the other party sign onto your legislation—that would actually undermine your electoral appeal. So bills that could have garnered Democratic votes were twisted until no Democrat could, in good conscience, say “aye.” Perhaps the best example of this strategy was the Department of Homeland Security, a Democratic idea that the White House first opposed, and then inserted a union-busting provision into, so Democrats had to fight against a broadly popular idea that they, at base, supported. That bill could have passed with overwhelming support. It was a conscious decision to make it a partisan issue so it could be used as a cudgel in the 2002 elections.

1 comment:

d a r k c h i l d e said...

But the Buddha did have a child; Rahula.