September 20, 2013

"We've all heard the 'elections have consequences' adage many times, but let's be clear about what we're witnessing in 2013..."

"... Republicans are very clearly telling the country, 'No, actually, elections don't have consequences. We're still going to do as we please.'"

So writes Steve Benen at Maddow blog, and I just have to ask him how is it that these terrible Republicans are able to tell us these things? Seems to me they got elected.

Benen ends with a line that resonates with us the people of Wisconsin: "Democracies aren't supposed to work this way." Back in 2011, we had weeks of loud protests with chanting over a drumbeat: "This is what democracy looks like." And those were Democrats who'd lost the 2010 elections. They were making all the noise they could because they didn't have the votes in the legislature, and yet they still shouted all day and night that what they wanted was democracy. The idea — to the extent that it made any sense — was that the minority opinion also matters and free expression and dissent are part of the process, adding friction and restraint to the imposition of the will of the majority.

But in Congress, there are members who form a majority in one house and a sizable minority in the other. These people were elected, and we have a system of separated powers that was designed to slow things down, force deliberation, and prevent the abuse of power.

There was a time when Obama said "I won." It was arrogant back then, and in a democracy, that kind of arrogance invites comeuppance.

40 comments:

Oso Negro said...

It does appear to be startling to people on the left that the other side won't simply go along with what they desire. Open opposition to the desires of the left is termed "extremism." One wonders what they will think when a Republican president is elected who has the balls to turn the entrenched leftists out of their rule-making roles in the Federal agencies.

Hagar said...

Aww; they are just "messing" with him.

cubanbob said...

Lefties always full of shit. What else is new? While Obama and Co. run their mouths off they always conveniently forget that every republican also won his or her race.

Terry said...

It is not uncommon among the hard left to define democracy, not as the result of a vote, but as the State being in charge of every social institution. Thus Cuba is a more democratic than the United States because the State allows no institutions that are not under its control -- no Boy Scouts, no American Legion, no Rotary, no Chamber of Commerce -- nothing.
People who are not leftists call this 'totalitarianism'.

Michael K said...

The memory hole was at work after the 2008 election. Nobody remembers the opposition Buh got to everything, including appeals court judges who were good enough to be threat for the USSC. Miguel Estrada never stood a chance in a Democrat Senate. He was too good.

readering said...

You don't get (re-)elected president without extreme self-worth. tell us something we don't know. But there's a big difference between slowing things down and threatening to shut down the government and default on the debt. I predict the government won't shut down. Not so confident on default.

Sam L. said...

You don't understand, dear Ann. They are progressives! They are Right/Correct by definition! It is WRONG to stand in their way, let alone actually THWART them! The have no coping skills, other than swearing, pissing, and moaning.

Donald Douglas said...

Democrats play "shut up politics." And Benen's not only one of the biggest "shut-uppers," he's not very smart.

Anyone with the slightest familiarity with the Founders, especially Madison, knows precisely that the system is set up to frustrate the majority. That majority, at least as Benen puts it, is the Democrat Party (and notice how Benen lamely argues that the Dems won more votes nationally in House elections, as if that were to make one damn difference to how the place operates institutionally). It's emotionalism. And it's cultism, since support for Obama is mostly a cult these days.

In any case, well said here, "...we have a system of separated powers that was designed to slow things down, force deliberation, and prevent the abuse of power."

St. George said...

Read the financial pages, and you read little of politics. Read of politics, and you learn little of finance.

The financial news is abuzz with the belief that the Fed is trapped. It must keep stuffing fat down the goose's gullet. Stop and the goose will panic with hunger. Continue and the goose will burst. Yet the guzzling cannot go on forever. When the crash comes--and it will--it will be a doozy. What, then, will Uncle Sam do?

Comeuppance, indeed. Hatches must be battened.

surfed said...

Hubris is always brought to task.

Bob Ellison said...

The majority will be a tyrant. The individual from any caste will be a slave. This is the battle.

Mark said...

Collectivists look for saviors. Individualists fear tyrants. In the end, it's usually the same person.

cubanbob said...

What is Benen yammering about? Not one republican voted for Obamacare. Not one. Almost all of them ran in 2010 and 2012 on a platform of among other things repealing Obamacare. Did he really expect them to say now "OK. Never mind "? Amazingly they are actually trying to keep a campaign promise.

campy said...

Obama is AWESOME!! He's supposed to get everything he wants!

Raaaaacists!!!!

tim maguire said...

The fact that it's on the Maddowblog means not only tnat it's nonsense, but that it's irrelevant.

In 2008 and 2012, the Republicans succeeded in being worse than the Democrats. In 2010, the Democrats succeeded in being worse than the Republicans.

My guess is that in 201 the Democrats will experience a similar success. The only hope for Democratic failure in 2016 is so great a success in 2014 that Republicans control the agenda afterwards and steal the Democrat's thunder.

Alex D. Novak said...

What gets in the craw of the left, though I don't believe they have mentioned it yet, is that the Tea Party is a grass roots, community organizing effort. Whether consciously or not, it is using the organizing methods espoused by Saul Alinsky in "Rules for Radicals". The more conservatives actively adopt these techniques, the more successful they will be.

The left has been doing this kind of organizing since the '30s. They know it works. It scares them that someday calling people names will lose its effect.

Matthew Sablan said...

Elections in the House have consequences too. American elections aren't winner take all if you get the presidency.

Bruce Hayden said...

Yes, elections do have consequences. But, the Dems are talking about the 2008 election, while the Reps are pointing to the 2010 and 2012 Congressional elections, where they retook and retained the House based on their, and the country's, dislike for ObamaCare.

I think the frustration here is that it was an abysmal piece of legislation dumped on Congress in the middle of the night, with no chance to read it until it had passed, and was passed using all sorts of procedural gimmicks, including lying about the economic impacts of the legislation in order to justify bypassing normal rules. And,, now that it has passed, the left is, essentially, saying, tough. Sure, we cheated, but we won, and passed this legislation. Deal with it, and, don't even think of trying to repeal, or even delay its implementation (the President can do so, but that is because the bribes received to do so have benefitted the Dems, etc., and, of course, he is the Won)

So, yes, elections have consequences, and the Republicans elected to the House in 2010 were elected, to a great extent, to repeal or greatly fix ObamaCare. The left, including the President, need to deal with that reality.

Big Mike said...

The speech that Obama gave during the Navy Yard shootings was poorly thought out. The latest statements out of the White House seem downright infantile. Is Barack Obama having a nervous breakdown?

FleetUSA said...

The current batch of Democrats do not know how to negotiate. It is a process of give and take.

Or put another way, they fear giving away on anything in the negotiation process. Obama has a record of pissing off his followers when he does negotiate.

Many former Presidents solved problems with the opposite party in control of one or both Houses. They knew the system required negotiation.

Maybe Community Organizers follow a plantation system. They complain and assert demands but then take what the master (government) gives them.

SGT Ted said...

Leftists cannot brook any opposition. That's why dissent against leftism is characterized as some sort of criminal activity, while THEIR dissent against liberty is characterized as "patriotic".

"Democracy" means leftists gaining control of the levers of power and then shutting all opposition out; it is simply a means to their ends. Leftists in government have always demonstrated this, over and over and over.

Lefties are always full of shit, indeed. Lem's Law is personified by the totalitarian notions of Steve Benen.

Matthew Sablan said...

As much as it pains me to say this, most of this really is Pelosi's fault. If the Dems had taken a Steny-Hoyer or a more personable, even if as far left, person as their Speaker, they could have easily found Republicans to compromise to get something close to the ACA to pass.

It was Pelosi's stubborn partisanship that sank that boat. But, for whatever reason, the caucus wants her back if they get the majority there again.

somefeller said...

Tim Maguire says:The fact that it's on the Maddowblog means not only tnat it's nonsense, but that it's irrelevant.

Which is why you are commenting about it, right, Timmy?

Conservative commenters love to say that various people and institutions are now or soon will be irrelevant, such as the New York Times, the Mainstream Media (always defined to exclude conservative sources!), elite universities or whatever. It's such a cliche at this point and says more about the relevance (or lack thereof) of the cliche-spouter than the supposedly irrelevant subject.

Anyway, that Cruz defunding strategy is going great! Obamacare is only days or weeks away from disappearing. Or something.

SGT Ted said...

Back in 2011, we had weeks of loud protests with chanting over a drumbeat: "This is what democracy looks like."

And that demonstrates what leftist really think Democracy is, as opposed to what they say it is: when they don't win elections, they seek mob rule and when they win elections "we won, shut up and do what we say". Authoritarianism is their natural endstate.

machine said...

So, blow up the economy because ya can't overturn a law...

Such patriots....

Big Mike said...

The more I think about Obamacare, the more I think the Republicans are doing the Democrats a huge favor in defunding it. What I understand from the local newspaper (Washington Post), which is unfailingly supportive of Barack Obama, is that this administration has done almost nothing to implement the Affordable Care Act since it was passed.

They're going to send out people to recruit uninsured individuals for exchanges. These individuals will necessarily be collecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which is legally protected. A competent administration would have set up screening processes for these recruiters, but not the Barack Obama administration. The recruiters will not even receive the inept level of screening that Snowden and the Navy Yard shooter received. Will there be fraud? What do you think?

Speaking of fraud, the good folks in Kathy Sebelius' HHS department have had 3 1/2 years since the ACA was passed to set up the databases, software, processes, and procedures to prevent wholesale fraud on the part of applicants. None of these will be ready, because to be ready in 2014 they would have to be in test today. And they aren't.

This is going to be one humongous cluster....

Unknown said...

Oso wrote, above:
"One wonders what they will think when a Republican president is elected who has the balls to turn the entrenched leftists out of their rule-making roles in the Federal agencies."
We saw this happen somewhat recently: When W.Bush dismissed the US attorneys in Dec. 2006. Liberal pigs SQUEALED, though it was all legal, & not even a new practice. Sigh...

Ambrose said...

Elections where Democrats lose don't count. Everyone knows that.

tim maguire said...

No, somefeller, I'm commenting on it because it's on the althouseblog. You do know where you are, don't you?

As for your remarks about conservatives, you obviously don't read many of my comments. Here's the short of it: virtually every person I know is hard left, virtually every one of my friends is hard left. Much as I like them generally, I depise the way they think when they think about politics, I despise the way they talk when they talk about politics.

But that doesn't make me conservative, it just makes me not a vicious idiot. Which, frankly, every single one of them becomes when talk turns to poitics.

Hyphenated American said...

Back in Europe they kept bringing up the eu constitution over and over until he people voted "right". And when they refused to vote for it, they just changed the name and got it through parliament without letting people to vote. It's same everywhere.
The liberals are also following the Brezhnev doctrine, "what's mine is mine, what's yours is negotiatable".

Matthew Sablan said...

"So, blow up the economy because ya can't overturn a law..."

-- The president is the one insisting on vetoing a law to shut down the government; Republicans are the ones looking for compromise.

Narratives: They need facts.

machine said...

"Republicans are the ones looking for compromise."


Fantasyland

Hyphenated American said...

I am amazed by the liberal insanity, apparently the congress cannot discuss the government funding for obamacare when you are talking about budget. It's like the money for it is not even in the budget.

And speaking of compromise, how about this, let's cut obamacare funding by 50% for 2014 - that would be a golden middle. Right, liberals?

The Godfather said...

The Republicans are better on tactics than on strategy. Forcing the Democrats to vote AGAIN in favor of Obamacare is good tactics. "Shutting down the Government" over this issue would not be a good strategy. The near-term strategic objective is to win the 2014 elections. My guess is that Big Mike is right that implementation of Obamacare WILL continue to prove to be a clusterfuck. I know some conservatives are worried that too many voters will become addicted to the federal teat because of the "benefits" of Obamacare for it to be repealed once it takes effect, and that may happen, but I'm betting that there will be a constituency for a new approach to help win the presidential election in 2016 (which is the slightly-longer-term strategic objective).

cubanbob said...

So Obama wants to play a game of chicken. Big deal. Shut the government down. Who cares. Private sector taxpayers for the most part won't even notice. Obama and the democrats will fold like cheap suits on Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. The justification for that will be that those are funded fully by payroll taxes and thus don't require borrowing. As for the rest, the private sector portion of the public won't get that perturbed and since the IRS and other federal agencies that collect taxes and fees won't shut down there will be enough cash flow to pay the bonds. Which will be paid as the Treasury will never risk even a timing issue default. Essentially services like air traffic control will continue-the democrats don't have the stones to shut them down. So the military and everything else will be put on-hold until Obama and Reid give in. Its going to be a tough sell for them to insist on an all or nothing deal when the republicans are willing to finance everything else. Obama's legacy is important to him but not to everyone else.

Jason said...

Burn it down and leave this shithead president standing in the ashes of the disaster he created.

Paul said...

The term, "we won', apparently only belongs to the left and if someone on the right says it they are raciest Bush/Hitlers.

At least that is how they view it.

machine said...

"Now let's put this in perspective. The Affordable Care act has been in the law for three and a half years, it passed both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, it was an issue in last year's elections, the guy who was running against me said he was gonna repeal it, we won," Obama said, drawing applause.

"So the voters were pretty clear on this,"

Michael The Magnificent said...

What one house giveth, the next can take away. This is what a representative republic looks like.

No doubt, threatening to defund any social(ist) program scares the living shit out of the left. Just think where this could lead. Defund obamaphones! Defund the Department of Education! Defund the National Endowment for the Arts! Defund SNAP, WIC, EBT, TANF! Defund Medicaid!

Hell, considering how they've been turned into Obama's personal gestapo, defund the IRS!

How about this "compromise." This year, we only de-fund half the programs and departments which don't fall under Article 1, Section 8. We'll defund the rest next year.

machine said...

Obamaphones....Gestapo....there ya have it.