It is surprising how little appetite for governing that many in our party have. Governing means making difficult decisions, challenging the status quo, deciding on new courses of action, and, importantly, making compromises — all on the road to actually passing legislation.
This is the job we signed up for, not the one where a butler appears and asks us what kind of world we want to live in today.
In our world, because governing entities are called upon to make hard and often unpopular choices, they are on the hook for what happens and are held responsible when what happens is nothing at all.
It seems to me more clearly than ever that many on our side prefer a religion to a grungy political party. But religions deal in platonic ideals and serve immutable truths. They give us goals to stride towards, all with the luxury of abstraction.
A political party is different. Its main goal is to increase the number of offices occupied by the party, so that it can pass legislation and move its agenda forward. Without passing legislation, there is little future for the party. Eventually, the members of the governing party will be voted out, leading to a downward spiral of decreased power, membership, and funding.
How many more hyperventilating emails must I endure where some progressive offers a petition: “Stop the healthcare bill because…”?
I’m confused. Isn’t that the other guy’s job? We need to ask ourselves: “Are we better off if this bill passes?” and “Can we change this later?”
A great deal has been said about budget reconciliation, a legislative technique that, based on Senate rules, can only be used for budgetary matters: changing outlays, and taxes. Reconciliation cannot be used to pass new industry regulations, for instance. Why not pass the flawed Senate Bill and use reconciliation to make necessary repairs? It can be done. Governing means using all the tools at our disposal – including trust in our leadership to make the system work for us.
Short of the elimination or modification of the filibuster rule (which would require even larger majorities), only a Senate supermajority has the ability to pass this kind of omnibus legislation. This is the current state of governing in America. If we want to change it, we have a clear path: elect more Democratic Senators. But a warning here: this does not mean finding the most ideologically pure candidates; rather we need to select candidates that have the best combination of support for the party’s goals and the ability to actually win.
As we watch the fortunes of the congressional Healthcare bill, we should all be reminded of the increasing importance of Connecticut’s SustiNet legislation passed this year. Having a Democrat as the next Governor will be essential for implementing that policy. Let’s pick a winner this time!
I heard an old African song on the radio recently that seemed appropriate here:
It will be hard, we know. And the road will be muddy and rough. But we’ll get there… We know we will.