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Posted by on Mar 23, 2010 in Health, Politics | 17 comments

Washington’s not broken anymore!

Three long weeks ago, I made the case that Scott Brown single-handedly broke Washington:

As recently as January 18, the day before Scott Brown’s election, there was no firm consensus that Washington was broken. Now it is a staple of high-minded conversation. Imagine for a moment, that instead of Scott Brown, Massachusetts voters had elected Sen. Martha Coakley.

The House and Senate would’ve worked out a compromise on healthcare and Obama would’ve signed the titanic bill into law. The conversation we’d be having now would be about the merits of that bill. No one would be saying that Washington was broken, except perhaps for Tea Partiers and embittered Republicans.

Well, don’t expect any more anxious hand-wringing from high-minded establishment types. “Washington’s broken” will now become nothing more than a Republican talking point. The Democratic line has already been laid down by EJ Dionne:

The passage of health care reform provided the first piece of incontestable evidence that Washington has changed.

Congress is, indeed, capable of carrying through fundamental social reform.

Who knew that Washington could be fixed so quickly?

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly

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  • TheIndependentCuss


    Well, yes, and the rise of the Third Reich proved that Germany had forsaken the Weimar Republic. In the initial blush of “change”, I am certain that some Germans no doubt celebrated the notion that their country was no longer “broken”.

    Knowledge gleaned: quick fixes aren’t always the best fixes.

    Jeff Dreibus

    • JSpencer

      Somehow I think you could have “gleaned” the same “knowledge” without creating an analogy between democrats and the third reich. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your other commentary, but where on earth did this come from?

      • ProfElwood

        I don’t think that he was accusing the Democrats of being like the Third Reich. The point seemed pretty clear to me: moving forward isn’t good if you’re pointing in the wrong direction.

      • TheIndependentCuss


        Metaphor often contains a degree of hyperbole for the sake of emphasis. No direct comparison was intended.

        Jeff Dreibus

        • elrod

          Would it then be inappropriate to compare the GOP’s tactics to “Massive Resistance” offered by the Southern states to Brown v. Board of Ed. and the Civil Rights laws?

          • TheIndependentCuss


            Yes, it would most certainly be appropriate . . . though I prefer the metaphor of Republicans burning down the barn because they left the door open and the wild horse (which they had every opportunity to tame) ran away.

            Jeff Dreibus

    • elrod

      Why is Godwin’s Law suddenly no longer operable?

      • TheIndependentCuss


        Not neccessarily. Perhaps I am simply ahead of the curve . . .


        Jeff Dreibus

  • DLS

    Where is the intellectual maturity? There is not a single thing “wrong” with what Driebus posted.

    • $199537

      Where is the intellectual maturity? There is not a single thing “wrong” with what Driebus posted.

      I have to agree with JSpencer and Elrod on this one. Evoking the Third Reich generally leads to a decline in the level of discourse regardless of good intentions.

  • casualobserver

    As far as Scott Brown goes, the only factually supported item in existence is that he was elected by the generally Dem-electing voters of Massachusetts. Yes, he said he would vote against the current HCR bill, but at this point, has he cast any vote?

    For bloggers to have launched buckets of unsupported personal hypothesis from that one fact was a waste of bandwidth. For bloggers to now think they really know what is going to happen is starting to insult intelligence…………how many times does your speculation have to be wrong before your license to pontificate is revoked?

  • JeffersonDavis

    No, David. You’ve got it all wrong, brother.

    As long as Senators and Representatives vote AGAINST the wishes of their constituents, Washington will remain broken. Party politics taking priority over the constituency is what “broke” Washington. That goes for both parties – the Republicans 1996-2006, and the Democrats 2006-present.

    • “As long as Senators and Representatives vote AGAINST the wishes of their constituents, Washington will remain broken.”

      This (and DLS’s comment) argue for poll-driven policy. But of course when 80% of the public says yes to single payer, THAT isn’t the “will of the constituents”. How transparently contradictory. I can show lots of polling data supporting outrageously progressive policies, but no Republican has yet said “this is what people in my district want, so that’s how I’ll vote.” JD, you’re not that naive. Public opinion fluctuates wildly and is easily shaped by advertising and talking points.

      For example, if a majority of Republicans believe Obama was not born here, should that be the Republican party platform? If a majority believe the rich pay too little or corporations have too much power, that should drive policy? If 85% think Citizens United was a bad decision, then both parties should immediately pass laws in accord with their constituents’ beliefs?

      • JeffersonDavis

        Green…. 85% of voters in MY state have always been against socialized medicine. Yet our representatives voted for it consistently. Now that is not the case nationwide, as you pointed out. But we don’t pass things through Congress based upon nationwide polls. We rely on our representatives in Congress to state OUR wishes. That hasn’t happened – either for those constituencies that wanted single-payer or for those who do not. This ridiculous monstrosity of a bill makes neither happy and has served neither constituency.
        Wouldn’t you agree?

  • DLS

    The polls on the passage of this legislation had the public 48 per cent opposed, 40 per cent supporting it.

    I suspect a number of the supporters are going to learn, the hard way, that change is not the same as improvement.

  • DLS

    “This (and DLS’s comment) argue for poll-driven policy.”

    I’m not arguing for it here, and have disparaged the “wind vane” politicians more than once before.

    “But of course when 80% of the public says yes to single payer, THAT isn’t the ‘will of the constituents.'”

    That competes with Silhouette’s claims for public option support for the Exaggeration Award.

    Wait until there are higher premiums and more problems with insurance company misconduct, then we’ll see again.

    (Wait 10 years after Medicare for All and problems with that system, and check for VA for All support.)

  • DLS

    “wild horse (which they had every opportunity to tame) ran away”

    I’m now waiting to see if that horse goes berserk, on a true rampage.

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