Saturday, January 23, 2010

Democrats: The Party of "No"

No sooner had Scott Brown won the special election in Massachusetts, pundits began rerunning their schtick that the Republican party was, "The Party of No."

Actually, they have that backwards.

Brown's election means that the Democrats no longer have 60 seats in the Senate. Since 60 votes are required to cut off debate and call a vote, they must now get at least one Republican to agree with any legislation they intend to pass.

One Republican seems a pretty small requirement. When the Republicans controlled the Senate in a 50-50 tie, they needed 10 Democrats to invoke "cloture," and the people's business still got done.

The difference was that the Republicans listened to the Democrats' cries about the "rights of the minority." They had to, even if they thought those cries were disingenuous. But, Democrat Senators have gotten in the habit of saying, "No," every time the Republicans wanted that legislative body to perhaps consider something that some of them could support.

Democrats didn't need Republicans over the last year, so their answer was, "No. No, we won't consider your ideas; no we won't reach a compromise the American people might prefer; no, we won't even acknowledge that you have ideas." They ran with that last comment to every journalist they could find, pretending that the other side didn't even offer ideas. Sadly, too many journalists let them get away with it.

So, when your opposition won't listen to you, about all you have left is to say, "No. No, we don't agree with where you're going, and, no, we can't stop it, but, no you can't make us vote for it, either."

Republicans have had ideas all along, and have been offering them. Whether they're the best ideas ever, or utterly foolish, isn't the point. Democrats will now, at least, have to stop saying, "No."