Saturday, February 7, 2009

My (unsolicited) Contribution to the NYTimes

I made this exceptionally wise and insightful post this morning at, in response to an op-ed piece by Charles M. Blow (what a monumentally unfortunate name!), but also inspired by the ever-marvelous Gail Collins, and the news of the last couple of days.

Doesn't this remind anyone of 1993? The situation is much more dire, of course. But the expectations (almost millenial) are quite similar. Republicans may have felt the same way in early 2005, I suppose. "We've won the whole shooting match" think the voters (and office-holders) of the victorious parties. Like W. in 2005, they believe that "political capital" has been won, fair and square, and can be spent like cash.

But as Clinton, W., and probably any president with working majorities in Congress has found, the system is way more complex than that. Both parties have ridiculously large tents, and party discipline is never something that can be counted on... especially in the majority party. This is only natural, given that the majority party, at least theoretically, has the bigger tent at any given moment, and cannot possibly please all of its diverse occupants simultaneously.

Happily, unlike most of his predecessors, and because his prior experience is legislative, not executive, Obama seems to understand this. Blow is quite correct to warn him against getting sucked into the same old game; instead, it is time to give some serious love to Senators Collins, Specter, Snowe, and even Lieberman... and also to the moderate democrats who dropped their sense of victor's entitlement to work with them. Thanks be to God. Let's hope it works.

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