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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something in the Water

Exra Klein writes about hardball

Jonathan Bernstein thinks that the Democratic tendency to believe Republicans are far more ruthless and organized than they are is mirrored among Republicans:


But Republicans have their own list of grievances, including the last-minute revelation of George W. Bush's driving record in 2000 and the stuff about his military service in 2004.


Democrats embraced some legitimate, but nevertheless inventive, tactics in the push to get health-care reform through both the Senate and the House. Barack Obama decided to forgo public funding so that he could vastly outspend John McCain. Nothing there goes nearly as far as the tactics Republicans used to pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit,

First, at the time, Klein did not describe any of the Democrats tactics as inventive

What reconciliation is for

One of the weirder ideas out there is that it would somehow be unorthodox to use the budget reconciliation process to smooth out the difference between two health-care reform bills that have already been passed. But as Henry Aaron points out (pdf), this is literally what the reconciliation process was created to do:

I think that this claim (which is of course completely accurate) has ceased to be operative, because of the aqua Buddha ad.

On the site I commented at some length

You and Bernstein are hinting at two contradictory claims -- that Democrats play as hard hard ball as Republicans and that Democrats are wise to not play as hard hardball as Republicans. Both can't be true.

The first claim (which neither of you quite made) is clearly false. After arguing that both sides think the other is tougher, Bernstein checks the facts and concludes that Republicans are tougher -- and that this is bad strategy in the medium run.

Your examples of Democratic hard ball prove that you just can't make one tenth of a case that there is any comparison. You note Obama declined public financing -- Four years after Bush declined public financing. You note that the Democrats used the budget reconciliation process to reconcile the budget with the budgetary resolution. For some reason you consider this "inventive." You do not defend that assertion, because you can't. There is nothing inventive about using reconciliation for reconciliation

In contrast the Republicans used the reconciliation process to cut taxes and add to the deficit. That was inventive.

Other absurd non-examples include the Republicans suspicion that the proof that Bush lied to the US public (about his most recent arrest) was provided by Democrats. This is a legitimate issue -- Republicans had made rather a large deal about Clinton lying to the public. Republicans had been claiming that Gore lied or exaggerated, typically by lying about what he said. If the Republicans unproven suspicion is correct, there is no comparison between Democratic and Republiccan tactics in 2000.

According to fare left US News and World Report, the official documents released by the White House demonstrate that Bush did not fulfil his contractual obligations to the TANG. In contrast Clinton was called a draft dodger for briefly considering attempting to get into the national guard (and this in spite of the fact that given his birthday and the very public results of the draft lottery it would have been obvious to any responsible journalist that he wasn't drafted because his draft number was over 300 (over 330 IIRC)).

No evidence could be stronger than the utter mind boggling feebleness of the supposed examples of Democrats acting like Republicans. You aren't seriously arguing that conservatives are right about Republicans and liberals. Yet you hint and suggest something which you must know is total nonsense, before briefly admitting that it is nonsense and changing the subject.

I suggest you bring bottled water to work. There is clearly something in the Water in the Washington Post building.

1 comment:

Hans Suter said...

the daily howler made me read MLK, here's what hit me, too:"Why is it, I asked myself, that the Whites who believe in integration are so often less eloquent. less positive, in there testimony than the segregationists ? It is still one of the tragedies of human history that the "children of darkness" are frequently more determined and zealous than "the children of light".