Wednesday, July 10, 2013


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....

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....
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.

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.


Pete said...

"They hate compromising."

I agree. That is very dangerous for our society. We all have to give and take, that's what being in a society is all about. We have to work as a community, and we have to organize that way, and make that the new normal (again).

Victor said...

"My way, or the highway!"

"(MY) America! Love it, or leave it!"

Manicheans don't compromise.
Authoritarians don't compromise.

Compromising is a sign of weakness, and these people believe that they are Ubermenschen or Brahmins.
And those kind of people have no need to compromise. They are naturally superior, and can simply dictate to their lessers - the Untermenschen and Untouchables.

And if those beneath them don't like their rules, they can either leave, or, preferably, GET CRUSHED!

Screw Godwin - these are the same types of people who took over Weimar Germany.
And they did it legally, and within the existing German political system.
These people are Dominionist Christian Fascists.

And they either WILL get dominion, die trying, or will take everything and everyone into the afterlife with them, where their God will sort everyone out.

And of course, they imagine that God is on their side - and that they'll sit by God's side, for all of eternity.

They never ask themselves whether, as Lincoln said when asked 'if God was on the Union side in the war,' he said, 'better to ask ourselves, if we are on God's side?'

We have to fight these Manicheans with everything we can muster.
Because, in their minds, they are on God's side, and we are with Satan.
And you know they'll never give up. Not when they believe that all of eternity rests on their victory!

Unknown said...

On the national level, it's nothing but a perpetual campaign; symbolic votes for ads for the election.
Nothing for the good of the country.
I hope to Jeebus that fair-minded people show up at the polls in '14. There has to be more than a few who got way more than they bargained for with the Teabaggers.

ChrisNBama said...

Very insightful and I think completely correct analysis. The GOP loves legislating bills that further their conservative cause, but are allergic to any legislation that is watered down or can allow multiple outcomes depending on how it's enforced.

Anonymous said...

Seems a good place to mention that polling consistently shows that strong majorities of republicans do not want their legislators to compromise at all. They want them to win. Reinforcing what Victor said, this is a battle to the death, and democrats really need to understand what they are dealing with here.

Buford said...

They have their "orders" from the likes of Wall Street, and the Kochs...This is it, this is the New American Way...

Erika Frensley said...

Simply put, they hate legislating, but love ruling.