Megan McCardle just invented a perpetual motion machine:
One cannot help but admire Nancy Pelosi’s skill as a legislator. But it’s also pretty worrying. Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority? Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn’t want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don’t find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, social security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn’t—if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission—then the legislative lock-in you’re counting on wouldn’t exist.
So let me get this straight: the GOP – once elected to filibuster proof majorities in the Senate, while in control of the House and White House – will vote in lockstep to repeal Social Security and Medicare in a wildly unpopular political jonestown massacre.
After which, the Dems will run on re-instating Social Security and Medicare, winning landslide victories that sweep the GOP from office and, upon retaking Washington, will reinstate Social Security and Medicare. After which, the Dems will be voted out for…doing something unpopular…rinse, repeat?
Actually, I have a different notion: the GOP needs old people to continue as a viable Party. If you’ve seen the voting trends, Republican voters sure ain’t getting any younger. Recall, the GOP took up the standard as “Defenders of Medicare” in the recent HCR brouhaha in part as a cynical ploy to defeat HCR, but also as a reflection of the aging demographics of the GOP.
They are the Party of “Get the Mexilibersociagayomoslems off my lawn.” And the country’s population is definitely trending Mexilibersociagayomoslem. Or at least, the kids don’t mind the Mexilibersociagayomoslems as much as their parents did.
I blame MTV and bussing.
But if the GOP turns on its base of angry white old people, who will they have left?
So fear not my ever-so-sincere Concern Trolling friend, Republicans not caring about being re-elected isn’t such a bad thing, even if it takes one cycle to clear them out and trim their constituency to a rump of a rump broken off the dirty south.
To quote a noted master political strategist, “Bring it on.”