Sunday, November 7, 2010

The U.S. election

The list of bloggers whom I make it a point to read is shrinking. One who is still very much on the list is Matt Yglesias. I still disagree with him on climate change, and there are no doubt other issues on which he and I would vote differently, but he has a very sensible approach to politics.

Yglesias as a progressive Democrat looks on the bright side as the Republicans make gains, especially in the House of Representatives and state legislatures. He isn't really gloating or anything, but he says (agreeing with Ross Douthat) the Democrats in two years actually pushed through some Democratic legislation which will presumably last; Republicans have not done anything similar for a long time. Arguably Dems act like they want to do the job, not just have the job. The Reps are left with "a little less of the welfare state, with selective cuts that don't hurt people like us (farm subsidies are safe) and anyone who wants more welfare state rather than less is an evil socialist."

I think a lot depends on Obamacare. It is planned so that the benefits don't really impact a lot of people for a while yet. The Dems have to hope that there are some significant benefits by the 2012 campaign season, so it isn't just a "huge spending bill" or "cutting Medicare for seniors." Ironically, or not, Reps will probably try to split off the "cost-control" provisions, on the ground that they involve death panels, they will hurt seniors on Medicare, etc. Health care a sacred trust for me, not for thee. Spending to be cut, or, not. Medicare a sacred trust, Obamacare (somehow) evil.

Obamacare is defensible in something like its present form. Some kind of libertarian approach is no doubt defensible--leaving seniors and others to deal with the insurance companies. Good luck. What is surely indefensible is the status quo before Obamacare. If the Republicans think they have a golden platform based on going back to that, they are kidding themselves.

Is there any program the Reps actually have the guts to cut? Do they have the guts to force the gov't to a stop as Gingrich did? What did Reps actually campaign on other than not-Obama?

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