Jonathan Chait is getting a lot of attention for a post titled "Conservatives Hate All Legislation Now." In it, he writes:
One of the novel developments in conservative thought during the Obama years is a burgeoning hatred not merely for government but for lawmaking.... a hatred for lawmaking has emerged in the Obama years, first as a Republican tactic, and then as an apparently genuine belief system.Paul Waldman picks up where Chait leaves off:
... You could argue, as Jonathan Chait does, that Republican lawmakers have basically given up on lawmaking altogether, and you wouldn't be far off. But it's more than that. They've reimagined the lawmaking process as a kind of extended ideological performance art piece, one that no longer has anything to do with laws in the "I'm Just a Bill" sense. It's not as though they aren't legislating, it's just that laws have become beside the point....However, this isn't true of Republicans everywhere. While the GOP in Washington is failing to get any laws of consequence passed, Republicans in Republican-dominated states are legislating like crazy -- and the laws they're passing are real laws that will affect real lives in meaningful ways. In Texas, Governor Perry has called two special sessions in order to pass abortion restrictions. In North Carolina, Republicans are so desperate to restrict abortions that they've tacked restrictions onto a bill that concerns motorcycle safety. Prior to that, they grafted abortion restrictions onto a bill restricting the use of sharia law.
We're now in a situation where the lawmaking process -- you know, bills being written, introduced, voted on, that sort of thing -- has, in the House at least, been given over almost entirely to this legislative kabuki, where the point of the exercise isn't passing laws but making statements and taking positions....
And this follows a wave of vigorous legislating in North Carolina:
Republicans lawmakers have slashed unemployment benefits, raised taxes for poor and working families, rejected federal funds for Medicaid expansion, and put public schools on the chopping block along with progressive voting laws.Think of the wave of union-busting laws in Wisconsin and other states almost immediately after the Republicans elected in 2010 were sworn in. Think of the many cities and towns forced under state control in Michigan. This isn't kabuki. These folks are really making and enforcing laws.
Republicans don't hate legislating. They hate compromising. They hate acknowledging that people who don't agree with them have any right to participate in the democratic process. They actually love legislating -- as soon as they have the opportunity to make 100% of the decisions about what's in the bills. They simply don't believe the rest of us are citizens with a right to participate in the legislative process.