Diary

Democrats and the Party of NO

When she was a newly minted House Minority leader, Nancy Pelosi hired an adveritising/marketing agency to get their advice on the best way to regain the majority. The advice as she relayed it was to oppose the Bush agenda lock, stock and barrell, in essence to become the party of no. After spending an hour fruitlessly trying to find the article I have given up. Maybe someone else will have better luck digging it out of the recesses of Google. From January of 2005 until November of 2006, Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues in the Senate followed this advice to the letter. They opposed President Bush on Social Security reform and refused to submit their own plan for saving the system from bankruptcy. On Iraq, they offered no solutions to achieve victory, in fact they were eager to declare defeat and cede that country to Al Qaeda. Cut to January 2007 and incoming Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1576122,00.html.

“When the G.O.P. pushed through a bill granting Bush the ability to suspend the
ancient right of habeas corpus for terror suspects, the man who would become the
Democratic Senate majority leader after the election, Harry Reid, said, “The
framers of our Constitution understood the need for checks and balances, but
this bill discards them.” Across the country Democratic candidates for both
chambers of Congress painted their opponents as rubber stamps for Bush’s failed
policy in Iraq. And the day before the Nov. 7 vote that would vindicate his
chairmanship of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, New York’s Charles
Schumer said voters were flooding to Democrats in part because they had decided
that the country needed “some checks and balances in this government.”

But when it comes to actually taking any action to check Bush’s war
powers, there’s not much bite to the Democrats’ bark. Which raises the question:
will Democrats use their new power to rein in what they say is an overreaching
President? Or will they choose to continue what proved to be a successful
political strategy when they were in the minority: criticizing the
Administration for unpopular policies while avoiding taking action themselves
that could prove equally unpopular?”

Politically, however, it’s hard to
argue with a winning strategy. The ACLU’s three races fly in the face of Harry
Reid’s victorious approach throughout the 109th Congress: hammer the President
in every public forum on Iraq and executive overreach, but never, ever get on
the wrong side of tough national security policies.”

If being the Party of NO was good enough for the Democrats, in fact they claimed it as the patriotic thing to do, why isn’t it acceptable for Republicans to follow suit when they are in the minority?

The Democrats have shown little (Senate) to no(House) interest in negotiating with Republicans. As President Obama told Senator Kyl (R-AZ), “I won, I trump you on that”. Holding the White House and large majorities in the House and Senate the Democratic strategy is to craft legislation that realizes progressives’ dreams, in the case of nationalizing health care, a dream they have had for over a century. When Republicans predictably refuse to sign on to legislation they haven’t had any input on drafting they will be labeled obstructionists by the Democrats and a compliant, complicit media.

Being labeled the Party of No scares the daylights out of Sen. McConnell, but it shouldn’t. The fact is that Obamacare is not popular with the electorate and Republicans have nothing to lose in standing up for the rights of the people. From the invitation that Rahm Emmanuel sent out for the health care summit the fix is already in “Since this meeting will be most productive if information is widely available before the meeting, we will post online the text of a proposed health insurance reform package”. As far as Obama/Reid/Pelosi are concerned this summit is just political theatre. They will make nice on camera and then ram a hyper-partisan bill through.

When President Obama met with House Republicans at their retreat he claimed he wasn’t an idealogue. He could go a long way to proving that by pledging to veto any health care legislation that comes out of the Senate via reconciliation. If he refuses to make that promise Republicans should proudly accept the mantle of the Party of No! Or as that sign at one of the tea party rallies put it: The Party of Hell No!