Sunday, January 17, 2010
I'm not sure what the opposite of a prisoner's dilemma is, but if you buy Tom Maguire's analysis the Democrats seem to have stumbled across a new form of disequilibrium:
Liberal House members can survive a collapse of the bill and stave off a primary challenge by blaming the crazy, conservative Senate. Swing seat House Dems and worried Dem Senators can blame the crazy House liberals.
If the Dems stand together its Jonestown. If someone yells "SPUD" and they all scatter, individually they can survive. Or so they will convince themselves if Brown wins in Massachusetts or even comes close.
If Tom is right, then would John Nash be, well, wrong? You know, in this situation?"
Is there a meaningful chance the Democrats would stand together? Isn't it their "natural state" to scatter (regardless of the Brown phenomenon)?
If standing together was second nature, the bill would have been passed and signed sometime during Q4 2009.
There was no real effort at bipartisanship during 2009. Conservative Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan said, basically, sure, let's cover everybody, but not with a Public Option -- that he would concede the point of universal coverage was a very significant victory for the Progressive Caucus, and showed how far it had advanced the ball since the failure of ClintonCare in 1993. Perhaps all that was needed to codify that victory was a concession on tort reform.
How could Democrats implode so badly so quickly? It took Republicans the better part of two presidential terms.
I am pretty sure that President Clinton would not have cared what Nash's advice was in the bar (was that the Tap Room of the Nassau Inn?) -- he would have gone for the blonde, or whomever he perceived to be the easiest mark for female, er, companionship that night. And, he probably would have talked one of his colleagues into making the introduction.
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One more sign of creeping sanity: the bizarrely inane idea of trying KSM in NYC may not happen after all. Holder is the PT Barnum of the cabinet, so he'd be disappointed, but everyone else will be happier if this trial balloon turns out to be accurate.
What you've seen is their idea of "governing responsibly".
It's important to get that definition firmly anchored into your head, and do your best to get it anchored into the heads of any independent thinking friends you may have.
Because the Democrats are going into campaign mode now, and they'll do everything they can to muddle the voters thinking and, by the way, they'll also do everything they can to capture the energy of populist Tea Party movement.
Think these things can't happen? After all the sneering dismissiveness, the characterizations of "Teabaggers" as uneducated, bitter, gun-grasping, right wing trailer trash, you think the Democrats can't possibly find a way to bring those folks back to the Obama fold? After the attempt to seize control of one sixth of the economy, under the mantra of "let no crisis go to waste", you don't see any way the president can pretend someone other than he and his fellow Democrats aren't the cause of the mess in DC?
The president doesn't agree, and here's what he had to say yesterday in Boston:
"People are frustrated and they're angry, and they have every right to be," President Obama said, "I understand. "
"You know, we always knew that change was going to be hard. And what we also understood -- I understood this the minute I was sworn into office -- was that there were going to be some who stood on the sidelines, who were protectors of the big banks, and protectors of the big insurance companies, protectors of the big drug companies, who would say, 'You know what, we can take advantage of this crisis -- because it's going to be so bad, even though we helped initiate these policies, there's going to be a sleight of hand here because we're going to let Democrats take responsibility. We're going to let them make the tough choices. We're going to let them rescue the economy. And then we can tap into that anger and that frustration.'"
Unfreakinbelievable. There is indeed a "sleight of hand" going on here, but it's him trying the three card monte move on the voters.
He's turning the facts on their heads and holding the "drug companies" and the "insurance companies" (all of whom have supported his bill) responsible for the whole mess he's created on the health "reform" issue (even blaming them for using his famous "let no crisis go to waste" strategy!!) but he's just a small hop, skip and a jump from naked Obama populism again. Don't think he can't do it- he got elected once by brazen demogoguery and he can once again try to grab the populist mantle.
Purple Avenger's observation provides most of the explanation. These are people who believe in the power of their own words, the obviousness of their intellects, and their superior morality. Their idea of governing is battle - nullifying Big This or That and running over the stupid people - and then everything will turn out fine.
This is why Democrats run on platforms of fighting for you, while Republicans say they will work for you. (Not that either group actually does that much.) An enormously revealing choice of words.
So the Dems plan on running next year by claiming "I'm sorry, we couldn't get Magic Health Care and Cap and Trade paid for by taxing only the evil rich done this year because you only gave us 60 Senators. Its you voters fault, if you had only given us 70 or even 80, we could have done great things. So give us all your money. Now!"