Thursday, January 21, 2010


In a post about whether Democratic voters should stay home in 2010 if a health care bill isn't passed, Ezra Klein writes:

If a demoralized Democratic base stays home in 2010 and Democrats lose 14 seats in the Senate and 60 seats in the House, is that really so different, in outcome, than if they keep a bare majority in one or the other chamber? Maybe. But maybe not. Republicans wouldn't be able to get anything over Obama's veto. And maybe they'd be able to use the fact that they're in charge in Congress to take some risks and compromise with the president on some major legislative achievements. Divided government does have some advantages.

I know Ezra's just giving us an extreme what-if, but let me tell you something: If Republicans really were to take over both houses of Congress in 2010, the results would be virtually indistinguishable from a complete restoration of GOP control -- with Sarah Palin as president.

"Republicans wouldn't be able to get anything over Obama's veto"? You sure of that, Ezra? Add terrified surviving Democrats to the new GOP majority and I think you'd absolutely be able to get to a two-thirds override on quite a few issues. And what would those issues be? Waterboarding and other elements of Cheneyism, budget-busting neo-Hooverite tax cuts for the haves, an obsessive focus on the 10th Amendment, "drill, baby, drill" and the complete abandonment of the notion that humans cause climate change -- and that's just a very partial list off the top of my head.

It wouldn't be divided government -- it would be the humiliation of a sitting Democratic president that Gingrich et al. dreamed of in 1994 and '95. There would be no compromise, no meeting halfway: the GOP restoration would begin in full -- with tea party crazies setting the agenda.

Yes, the Democrats are awful. But the Republicans, if they're back in power, will be immeasurably worse. And it wouldn't take much to make that so.

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