Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Going To The Mattresses

William Kristol and James Pethokoukis have items out suggesting that the Obama Administration is ready to take a combative turn as it pushes to get cap-and-trade and some kind of health care reform through Congress. Republicans and the right-wing blogosphere will be complaining soon about being bulldozed if they're not already. I don't care about it that much in the abstract: I think it's making an unnecessary fetish out of the sausage-making parts of lawmaking. Ultimately, the other team has the majorities. It's naive to think they won't make use of them.

But concretely speaking, it's another story. Whenever the President has tried to short-circuit the deliberative process on a big-ticket bill, it's never for a good cause. Recent examples of this are the Bush Administration's attempt at comprehensive immigration reform, Medicare Part D, and the Obama stimulus. War opponents tend to include the Iraq War vote as well, but think that one is a bad rap.

What makes the Obama bills uniquely bad is that their proponents can't explain in complete sentences what these bills are intended to accomplish and how they're supposed to do it. If this state of affairs continues, and the liberal base continues to insist that these bills get pushed through (as Kristol and Pethokoukis imply), we are looking at the seeds of 1994 all over again: no bills and no majorities.

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