I didn’t get a chance to comment this weekend on Matthew Yglesias’ ground-breaking announcement that the country has become “ungovernable” because the majority (Democrats) seem unable to run roughshod over the minority (Republicans) in the Senate:
We’re suffering from an incoherent institutional set-up in the senate. You can have a system in which a defeated minority still gets a share of governing authority and participates constructively in the victorious majority’s governing agenda, shaping policy around the margins in ways more to their liking. Or you can have a system in which a defeated minority rejects the majority’s governing agenda out of hand, seeks opening for attack, and hopes that failure on the part of the majority will bring them to power. But right now we have both simultaneously. It’s a system in which the minority benefits if the government fails, and the minority has the power to ensure failure. It’s insane, and it needs to be changed.
Instapundit takes credit for predicting this rejection of democratic (small “d”) minority rights once Democrats (large “D”) learned that the Constitution and Senate rules and traditions incorporate protections for political minorities.
Contrary to Yglesias, there are options other than going along to get along, or taking your lumps, or just dealing with it, or waiting until the next election.
The “why can’t Republicans be more like us, or at least shut up” mantra is taking over the chattering classes. Steve Pearlstein’s article, One problem with Republicans: They’ve got the wrong Mitch, which inspired Yglesias’ post, argues that Republican’s need to cooperate more in advancing the Democratic (large “D”) agenda with some modifications, because Republicans are about to walk “off the political cliff.” Me thinks Pearlstein doth protest too much.
What it all comes down to is a fundamental misunderstanding that the nation did not elect Democrats to pursue a liberal agenda. Democrats in Congress and Obama himself have fundamentally misread the mandate.
Yglesias and Pearlstein have cause and effect reversed. Democrats should be cooperating more with Republicans, not the other way around, because Republicans still incorporate the center-right national agenda. Democrats need to move to the center, Republicans do not need to move to the left.
And stop blaming Joe Lieberman. He was elected because Connecticut voters rejected the far-left candidate nominated by the Democratic Party. Again, Democrats need to be more like Independent Joe, not the other way around.
And that’s why we have the system we do, to prevent self-aggrandizing politicians on either end of the political spectrum from running amok in delusions of grandeur.
Announcing that the nation is “ungovernable” is the intellectually lazy way out from people who are unwilling to compromise so they blame the lack of compromise on others.
The Yglesias/Pearstein formulation amounts to one big political “waaah,” but “waaah” is not a constitutional right.