Yes, it’s political

      2 Comments on Yes, it’s political

We can be clear and open here, just between us, and admit that the legislation to make a Bipartisan Commission was, in fact, entirely political and designed specifically to make Republicans make an unpopular vote against it, right?

I mean, it’s not like the Democrats wouldn’t have been perfectly happy to have it pass—ideally, there would have been fifteen or so Republican Senators who would have voted for it, which would have nicely split their Party and caused the maximum bad feeling between them and created a commission that might have done something useful. On the other hand, the failure of the Republicans to approve the creation of a January Sixth Commission just means that the actual Congressional work on the topic will be entirely partisan. That’s not going to be politically bad for the Dems, either.

It would be even better, mind you, from a patriotic standpoint, if the Conservative Party weren’t entirely dysfunctional. If, for instance, it were possible for the legislature to examine what went wrong from a security, law-enforcement, bureaucratic and physical-plant point of view—if, for instance, both Parties agreed that it was a bad thing to have people chanting death threats in the Capitol—if, for instance, both Parties agreed that the trespassers were attempting a putsch, however pathetically, and that we do not want more putsch attempts to get even as far as this one did.

Well, there isn’t anything that Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden can do about that. But they can, and should, and clearly did, take political advantage of the opposing Party’s choice.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

2 thoughts on “Yes, it’s political

  1. Chris Cobb

    Well, since members of the Republican Party were involved in–and, indeed, signed off on–the legislation that was brought to the floor, I might amend the statement that it was “designed specifically to make Republicans make an unpopular vote against it” to say that it was “designed specifically to make Republicans who vote against it unpopular.” The Democrats did not design the commission to make Republicans vote against it. I think they expected many of them to do so, but they made concessions on the Commission design that were not politically advantageous for the Democratic Party in order to make it unequivocally a fair offer to Congressional Republicans. If they had wanted to make Republicans vote against it, designing the commission in an unbalanced way would have ensured (and provided a rationale) for Republican opposition. Instead, they made what was obviously a good faith offer, and when Republicans walked away from an offer their committee people had helped to write, it made it clear that votes against were in bad faith (that is, they had been lying about their intentions throughout the negotiations).

    A general Democratic strategy of exposing Republican bad faith and lying, then walking away from the table and just passing legislation that a large majority of the American people want while the Republicans get nothing, is the necessary politics of the moment. They’ve done that effectively with the American Rescue Plan and they are on their way to doing it with the Jan. 6 investigation. If they can do with the infrastructure legislation and protecting the vote, we’ll really be getting somewhere.

    1. Vardibidian Post author

      Yes, I should have said: it was not designed to be an easy no vote for Republicans. It was designed specifically to be a very difficult bill for Republicans to vote against, in part because there was no poison pill, no clause or element that was clearly unacceptable, nothing that hadn’t already been allowed by Republican representatives—in fact, nothing in it at all to point at and say “this is an outrage”. While, of course, also being a bill that Republicans couldn’t defend voting for, to however much of their base they believe drives the Party.

      And, as you say, this certainly seems to be the short-term optimal strategy for Dems at this stage: propose extremely popular policy legislation, then ‘compromise’ with Republicans to produce a bill widely considered (by the media at least) to be unobjectionable, and then when Republicans refuse to vote for the compromise bill, letting them walk away and going forward without them. I do think the ‘compromise’ stage is useful, even if it’s all shadow puppet play, which is why I’m perfectly happy to with where we are in the infrastructure bill at the moment. And hey, maybe the Republicans will figure out that this is all terrible for them, and start participating in actual government again. I’m not holding my breath, but a strategy keeps opening opportunities for it seems like it’s worth an extra three or four weeks in the Senate.



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