Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Crystal Balls (Heavy On The Balls)

Well, that went fucking appallingly, didn't it?

So, with the Senate Democratic Caucus at a "mere" 59 votes, here are my predictions for the next few weeks/months/years.

1) The MSM decide almost unanimously that this election demonstrates people don't like Obama, and that since they don't like him in Massachusetts, the only democratic thing to do is let the bill die. No-one of any consequence points out that the bill has a 59% supermajority, that the Republicans got this victory by delaying tactics that ground the government to a halt and risked American troops abroad, or that Brown is promising to kill national healthcare for "ideological reasons" whilst simultaneously extolling the virtues of his own states' healthcare system, which is incredibly similar.

2) People continue to tell me with a straight face that the American news media is "probably biased in favour of liberals".

3) Any number of smart observers point out that the Democrats can still have healthcare, so long as the House agrees to pass the Senate's version of the bill. Bizarrely, they all seem to think that this is liable to happen.

4) A number of Democratic Congresspeople state that the Massachusetts election was a referendum, so they can no longer in good conscience vote for a bill the party promised to pass, and which will save the lives of tens of thousands of people a year. Again, the fact that Massachusetts already has what Brown is promising to deny to everyone else will be quietly ignored. So to is the possibility that protest votes might less represent people not liking what the Democrats say they'll do, and more that they never manage to do what they say they will.

Nor is Brown or any other Republican directly asked why their "principles " are worth a yearly death toll at least twice as large as that of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

5) The left spends the next six months deciding exactly which Democrat is most to blame for this. A significant number will swear that they are taking their ball and going home, making it even harder to elect Democrats, and forcing several vulnerable candidates to run to the centre, making progressive legislation even more unlikely.

6) Having failed to pass their signature legislation despite controlling the White House and Congress, Democrats suffer significant losses in the mid-terms. The media argues that this is proof that people don't like Democratic ideals, and that the worst thing the Democrats can do when given power is to try to use it.

7) Republicans control both Houses and the White House by January 2017. The President declares war on Iran, China, taxes, women, and plants and animals. The last image seen on television before civilisation collapses entirely is of the Commander in Chief quite literally skullfucking the corpse of a gay Muslim man he himself killed just moments before. In their final moments before being consumed by the radioactive sludge-zombies that have roamed the countryside ever since the clean water act was repealed two years earlier, 95% of liberals can be found attempting to find one of the remaining six Democratic politicians, so they can make sure to lynch the people responsible before the end.


Senior Spielbergo said...

I stayed up late for the result, predictable as it was. To be honest it isn't really the Democrats fault, but rather the fact that it appears that the majority of Americans do not want these reforms. Try and do something people don't like and your going to get a back lash. What is needed is to persuade the poppulation that it is actually the right thing to do, which is an area the Democrats basically suck at and the Republicans are good at.

Education, education, education.

SpaceSquid said...

I don't even think it's fair to say Americans don't want these reforms. Consider that in order to get elected Brown had to explicitly say that he supported the Mass. healthcare system. If this were truly about people not wanting "Obamacare", why would success in a Senate race be contingent on stating one's own state would, to all intents and purposes, continue to receive it?

For all my pot shots at blaming Democrats, I think the most logical explanation for last night is that Coakley ran an absolutely terrible campaign. A month ago she was an awful lot of points ahead. Then she just gave up, as far as I can tell. Brown worked his ass off, and all political considerations aside, probably deserves his win (unquestionably Coakley deserves her loss).

Again, though, the fact that Coakley was comfortably ahead until about two weeks ago also suggests that this result has nothing to do with Obama's healthcare plan. What exactly has happened in the last fortnight that would suddenly turn people off said plan?

If the race had transformed suddenly in the last week of December, I might at least consider the possibility that people were objecting to healthcare passing the Senate. Instead, Brown has gradually built up support in the last two weeks. That's indicative of a smart politician running a good campaign, not as a protest vote over federal issues.

Your more general point that Democrats are far inferior to Republicans when persuading people what's right is dead on, though.

Tomsk said...

Guess you were right not to put out the flags on Christmas Eve. Out of interest why is it bizarre to think the House will pass the Senate bill?

Senior Spielbergo said...

Because they will flee to the centre as fast as their little chicken legs will carry them?

SpaceSquid said...

"Because they will flee to the centre as fast as their little chicken legs will carry them?"

I'm not sure. I mean, chicken legs, definitely. But this isn't a centre thing; the bill is pretty centrist already. It's just not very timid, and thanks to the GOP (and, admittedly, too much pork added to bribe recalcitrant Democrats), not nearly as popular as it should be.

I think this is about political cover.

At least, it is in part. There are three reasons why I think the House will never pass the Senate bill. Reason 1 is that the collapse of the Senate filibuster proof majority means that Democratic housemembers can now tell the left wing that there's no point in voting for things the Senate will ignore, and the right wing that they've voted no on things the right wanted defeated. There are a lot of House members who were put in headlocks to vote for the first bill, and now the ridiculous "referendum" meme and the very rare (so read: controversial) idea that they pass a Senate bill means plenty of things to point to when you do exactly what you wanted to do in the first place. Let's not forget that the bill the House themselves wrote passed by less than half a dozen votes.

Reason 2 goes back to what I said a couple of weeks ago, the Democratic House is majorly pissed off by the idea that their wishes and legislation are so totally worthless in a system that only gives a damn about what Senators want. It was already proving difficult to persuade Congresspeople to not fiddle too much with the bill (which would give Lieberman or Nelson or whichever stone-cold motherfucker decided to have a tantrum that week), and now they're being asked to swallow this legislation as is. It would be nice to believe they'd suck it up for the good of the country, but that ignores a) the basic egotism and idiocy of most politicans and b) those house members who are sufficiently left wing to have threatened to vote against the House bill, which was much better (from their perspective) than the Senate bill.

Reason 3 involves the same drum I've been beating for a while. If the Democrats circumvent the Senate following an electoral defeat, every GOP official within range of a microphone will accuse them of subverting democracy, and ever major media entity will run that as though it's somehow true, and as though it's somehow valid criticism from a party who believes there should be a 60% majority in favour of any bill they don't like.

Remember kids, the American media isn't biased in favour of Republicans. They just couldn't give two shits whether what they're telling you is true or not.