THE MIDDLE, MOVING EVER RIGHTWARD
Michael Tomasky yesterday, responding to the David Brooks column about Democrats' alleged overreliance on government since Obama's election:
... I think Brooks downplays the extremism of the right. A lot of our current division stems from the Republican tactical decision to oppose every major thing the administration tried to do....
Obama and the Democrats will take a licking at the polls this November. But assuming they hold on to the House, which I still think they will, you'll probably see a Democratic Party that moves more in Brooks' desired direction.
What you won't see, I'd wager, is a Republican Party that's interested in meeting them anywhere near halfway. They will oppose and obfuscate and outright lie, as Mitch McConnell just did on the financial reform issue. Their chief purpose is not to address what's ailing the country but to make Obama a one-term president.
That's a simple undeniable reality that needs to be acknowledged. The middle is vanishing because one of our two political parties has no interest in locating it and working to create it; only in pushing it further and further to the right.
I agree with this; I bring it up only to offer my opinion about what's going to happen after November.
I don't think Democrats are going to move toward the middle after November -- not all of them, anyway. I think a lot of them are going to try to move quite far to the right.
I think a lot of them are going be pants-wettingly terrified after November, even if they hold on to both houses of Congress. Just the loss of a few dozen seats in the House is going to motivate them to try to emulate the teabag-inspired GOP.
So I think you're going to see quite a few Democrats talking about repeal of the health care bill -- or at least partial repeal. I think you're going to see some Democrats talking about draconian, Arizona-like immigration laws. I think you're going to hear a number of Democrats calling for across-the-board tax cuts or a flat tax or the "Fair Tax."
I think some of this is going to come from very high-profile Democrats -- or perhaps the Dems who say it will just become high-profile. We may even get close to veto-proof numbers on some issues.
And you know what? It still won't work. If a few Democrats call for partial repeal of the health care bill, Republicans will say they can accept nothing less than full repeal. If some Democrats call for across-the-board tax cuts, Republicans will say the cuts are too small. And on and on.
Tomasky is right -- Republicans will never move to the center to find compromise. But it's worse than that -- they'll just keep moving their demands more and more to he right. They won't be appeased -- mainly because they don't really care all that much about the laws they say they want. What they really want is power.
(Tomasky link via Just Above Sunset, which I've added to the blogroll.)