To The Media, Governing Is Getting Reelected!
Steve Benen, who is consistently the best blogger on the internet….along with the Awesome Bob Cesca…has a great post up saying what I have been thinking since the election. The bastard always steals my thoughts and then puts them in writing much more eloquently than I can, so once again….what he said. (emphasis mine)
If it seems like you’ve been seeing those same four words — was it worth it? — all week, it’s not your imagination. The ubiquitous question is based on the assumption that Democratic losses were the result, not of awful economic conditions, but of the party’s agenda. The president and his party completed some remarkable policy achievements, but, the argument goes, those breakthroughs only pay electoral dividends if the public likes the policies. Instead, voters disapproved, strengthening the GOP “wave.”
The evidence to bolster this case, rather than blaming the economy, remains thin. But for the sake of conversation, let’s go with it. Let’s say Democrats effectively made a giant trade — they forfeited their House majority, and in exchange, Dems had one of the most successful congresses of the century, passing landmark legislation generations in the making.
Of course it was worth it. This is what big majorities are for.
One of the things that drives me nuts the most about the media is the prism through which they view everything, politics. It seems like it doesn’t matter much what a politician does once they are elected, like passing laws, representing their constituents or making a difference in the country. Instead, it’s all about the next election. You almost never see cable news actually talking about policy, except how it might affect someone politically. The midterm election is barely over and they are already talking about how everything anyone does will affect them in 2012. Jeez, can we take a break for a minute and actually govern. More from Benen…
There have been plenty of pieces making the case, and I’d recommend items from Cohn, Chait, and Sargent, among others. But I was especially struck by William Saletan’s Slate piece yesterday, not only because I disagree with him from time to time, but because I was nodding in agreement when he explained, “[I]f health care did cost the party its majority, so what? The bill was more important than the election.”
Politicians have tried and failed for decades to enact universal health care. This time, they succeeded. In 2008, Democrats won the presidency and both houses of Congress, and by the thinnest of margins, they rammed a bill through. They weren’t going to get another opportunity for a very long time. It cost them their majority, and it was worth it.
And that’s not counting financial regulation, economic stimulus, college lending reform, and all the other bills that became law under Pelosi. So spare me the tears and gloating about her so-called failure. If John Boehner is speaker of the House for the next 20 years, he’ll be lucky to match her achievements. […]
It’s funny, in a twisted way, to read all the post-election complaints that Democrats lost because they thought only of themselves. Even the chief operating officer of the party’s leading think tank, the Center for American Progress, says Obama failed to convince Americans “that he knows their jobs are as important as his.” That’s too bad, because Obama, Pelosi, and their congressional allies proved just the opposite. They risked their jobs — and in many cases lost them — to pass the health care bill. The elections were a painful defeat, and you can argue that the bill was misguided. But Democrats didn’t lose the most important battle of 2010. They won it.
Hell yes, this is one of the reasons why I support this president so much, he is there to get shit done and getting reelected isn’t his highest priority. This doesn’t quite fit in with the media’s narrative, they don’t understand it, it causes them cognitive dissonance. It does not compute for them. What it does is to give pundits the opportunity to hang themselves with their words and prove they are only about politics, fuck the people.