Just some things I want to get on the record:
This Wonkette post is hilarious, but I think what woven in to it is a very, very important truth about liberalism from circa 1970-1995: too much Orwellian identity politics stuff ruined the brand.
Fortunately, it’s time to watch out for this kind of thing because we have a popular liberal President and a governing majority in both houses of Congress, along with a new emerging center-left consensus, restoring the American equilibrium.
Things like political correctness were cracks in the old liberalism that was arguably basically already out of steam anyway, but it gave the ascendant ideology cover for its massive failures too.
By the time of Bill Clinton, liberals had learned that passing a law or funding a program isn’t enough to change things, that benchmarks and enforcement matter too. By the time of Barack Obama, everyone else learned that you still have to pass a law and fund a program to change things and that benchmarks and enforcement aren’t enough on their own.
Arlen Specter is both more significant than the naysayers say and less significant than the buzz. The naysayers say he won’t necessarily generate a filibuster proof majority. How do they know? The buzz says he will. How do they know? It’s been a long time since this situation has occurred. It remains to be seen if party discipline can work. Maybe the DSCC will say we demand you vote with the party on cloture on everything. It might work.
The other issue is how this changes negotiations. It means that negotiations only need occur within the caucus. That’s huge. It’s so much different that Snowe and/or Collins may also have to make the switch to keep their relevance. Why wouldn’t they? They are going to get a Club for Growth primary anyway for their stim votes, right?
Specter also doesn’t become the most right wing Democrat in the party. That’s a mistake. That’s Ben Nelson on social issues and Joe Liebermann on foreign policy.
But he’s also not a hero. This is the guy who invented the magic bullet theory. You know, the one bullet went through Kennedy’s neck, through Connelly’s chest, and into his wrist, all without damaging the bullet.
At worst, he was part of a cover up. At best, he thought that it was better to leave it at that to avoid the American people from being stirred up into an anti-Castro war fervor, if they blamed it on Castro, or would lose their anti-Commie vigor if they thought it was the anti-Castro Cubans.
Either way, someone made a decision not on the merits but based on expediency to leave it at that. Arlen was a DA later. Would he have told his cops to stop investigating if that was their best theory? No way. And the fact that every time that theory catches abuse we don’t hear about how that happens 50 times a day in a war is more proof to me that it’s anomalous. And remember, the US Congress found later that there were in fact 4 shots. The Congress. Not Olive Stone. The US Congress. And everyone agrees that there’s no way Oswald fires 4 shots with that gun. Does this mean I believe there was some vast conspiracy? No, it means I don’t know the answer, but it also means that neither did the Warren Commission and neither did Arlen Specter.
So, I don’t really care about Arlen. I just want his vote on health care.
Speaking of health care. I’m glad to see Obama showing some spine on this. It is really the key issue. Why?
First of all people who are down and out would be greatly helped by it. That should be enough on its own.
Second, our system is so badly broken that it needs to be fixed anyway.
Third, it is as important as liquid banks to our economy. See, our industries can’t compete on the basis of other country’s health care being free. It keeps people in jobs they don’t like. It keeps them from starting out on their own. It hurts existing employers who struggle to attract employees who demand that as a perq and who struggle to pay workers’ compensation which has inflated largely because of medical care.
If the banks start lending again, they need someone to lend to. People feeling secure enough to start their own business and/or hire employees might be a good start.