Here’s a thought exercise on this summer morning: Imagine that after the controversial Medicare prescription-drug legislation was passed into law in 2003, Democrats did everything they could to thwart one of George W. Bush’s top domestic achievements. They launched Senate filibusters to block essential HHS appointees from administering the law; they warned the sports and entertainment industries from participating in any public service announcements to help seniors understand how the law works; and, after taking control of the House of Representatives in 2007, they used the power of the purse to prohibit any more federal funds from being used to implement the law. As it turns out, none of that happened. And despite Democratic warnings that the law would be a bust — we remember the 2004 Dem presidential candidates campaigning against it — the Medicare prescription-drug law has been, for the most part, a pretty big success.
But that thought exercise has become a reality 10 years later as Republicans have worked to thwart/stymie/sabotage — pick your word — the implementation of President Obama’s health-care and financial-reform laws.
Recently, the top-two Senate Republicans — Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn — wrote a letter to the NFL and other major sports leagues warning them not to participate in any campaign to promote implementation of Obamacare. The Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity is in unchartered waters running TV ads to help prevent the law from being implemented, while the Obama political arm is also on the air promoting implementation. And Senate Republicans have vowed to filibuster any nominee (no matter how qualified) to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the financial-reform law. […]
And this all raises the question: What’s the line between fighting for your ideology and ensuring that the government that pays your salaries actually works — or even attempts to work? At some point, governing has to take place, but when does that begin? We know what opponents will say in response to this: These are bad laws, and we have to do whatever it takes to stop them. But at what point does an election have a governing consequence?
And Jon Chait:
One of the novel developments in conservative thought during the Obama years is a burgeoning hatred not merely for government but for lawmaking. Before the Obama era, the ends of crafting laws divided the parties, but the means did not. The process of corralling votes, placating hold-outs, and hammering out compromises was not something either side especially loved — you’ve heard the classic line about watching the sausage get made — but also not something that one side disliked more than the other. But a hatred for lawmaking has emerged in the Obama years, first as a Republican tactic, and then as an apparently genuine belief system.
The distrust for lawmaking is the main argument — wait, “argument” is too strong; maybe premise? — of a rare joint op-ed by Rich Lowry and William Kristol, editors of the National Review and the Weekly Standard. Lowry and Kristol urge House Republicans to kill immigration reform, because passing it would involve legislating, and legislating is bad.
No shit. Me, in 2009:
I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.
I will fully admit to being an idiot on most things, but sometimes shit is so obvious even I can figure it out. Fer fuck’s sake, Sarah Palin was the Veep nominee. What the fuck did Chuck Todd expect would happen?