When bipartisanship doesn’t work

This is a terrific post by Kevin Drum on the policy consequences of one party (hint, its not the Democrats) utterly refused to cooperate.  The result is policy a lot worse than it should be.  Just read it.  

 

Are Democrats the party of “girly men”

Yes.  At least in many people's minds.  The gender gap is very well established– that is, women are quite a bit more likely to be Democrats than are men, and thus, more Democrats are women than are men.  But, is the Democratic party actually "feminine"?  On the panel I was on at APSA, UVA political scientist Nicholas Winter presented some really interesting research about people's attitudes towards the party and how they relate to feminine and masculine characteristics.  He looked at thousands of open-ended responses over recent decades and found that about 4% of the mentions of both likes and dislikes towards the Demoratic party were "feminine traits" in contast to less than 1% of Republican trait mentions.  Conversely, people were much more likely to refer to Republicans in "masculine" language.  In a pretty cool experiment, he also showed that when people are thinking about Democrats they identify "feminine" words, i.e., skirt, nurse, housewife, much faster than when thinking about Republicans.

What the broader implications of this are, I'm not entirely sure, but given that in our society masculine traits are generally seen as preferable to feminine traits, it's probably not good for Democrats. 

The dumbest Senator in America

Actually, despite Baucus being made an utter and complete fool of by the Republicans in his "gang of six," I'm pretty sure that James Inhofe or Jim DeMint are clearly not smart enough to be in the NCSU Senate, much less the US Senate.  (The not-so-good people of OK and SC obviously share in the blame for that).  Anyway, Baucus, may not be that dumb, but he's sure been played like a chump on health care.  Steve Benen sums it up:

 Indeed, the level of support (or lack thereof) puts into doubt the
utility of Baucus' entire strategy. The chairman expected his committee
to approve a bill in June. Here we are in mid-September, and
Baucus has very little to show for his efforts, except a framework he
could have presented months ago.

Matt Yglesias noted, "In addition to the substantive concessions Baucus made in order to get nothing, it's worth noting that Baucus made huge procedural
concessions in order to get nothing. If he'd just stuck to the
schedule, we would have been at this point in the process at a time
when Barack Obama's approval rating was considerably higher. And at the
end of the day, politics is largely about politics and winning
bipartisan support for proposals has at least as much to do with the
popularity of the proposer."

What's more, Baucus accepted Republican delaying tactics, which led
to the August recess, which gave the right the opportunity to trash the
bill just as they'd planned. The plan, the president, and the party are
all in a weaker position now.

Baucus not only isn't being rewarded for his attempts at bipartisan
outreach, his efforts have led to a landscape that's fundamentally
worse for reform. As Greg Sargent concluded,
"It's perfectly possible that the resulting shift in public opinion
could mean the final bill will be significantly different than it might
have been. That, in the end, could end up being the Gang of Six's true
legacy."

 

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