The Democrats' Thugocracy

There are a couple things about the Obama years that have registered “does not compute” for me. The first was the complete powder taken by the media. Yes, I know that they are all ruling-class liberals that believe in all the received liberal notions and still swoon today at the thought of a First Black President. But you would have thought that, here and there, a liberal journalist would have popped his head above the parapet to take a potshot at the president. Because fame and celebrity. But really there was nothing for six long years until after the 2014 midterms.

The other thing that did not compute has been the extraordinary discipline of the Democrats in Congress. I could accept that in 2010 the Democrats would all vote as one over the passage of ObamaCare. Even so, we still got to see the purchase of the final votes in the Senate as predicted in the settled science of Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent. But I still don't understand the way that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) exercised supreme power over the Senate in 2013-14. I was taught that the Senate was supposed to be full of prima donnas and primo tenores that couldn't be forced to do anything. Not only that, but senators are supposed to be wily politicians. You tell me that none of them saw the 2014 wave coming, and none of them had the self-preservation instinct to break out of the pack and save themselves from the GOP onslaught?

Journalists are understandably timid. They live by their sources, and if they don't toady to their sources, then good-bye sources, and good-bye career. The case of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson is the exception that proves the rule. CBS was OK with her investigation of Bushies, but not Obamis. And if the CBS brass didn't get the message there were designated Obama bullies ready to read the riot act.

I think we are coming to understand the other “does not compute” now that the Justice Department has decided to prosecute Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The Dem officeholders have been kept in line because someone is keeping a little list of all their little foibles. It's a delightful system. The Obama administration does nothing about corrupt acts by its supporters until the day that a supporter breaks ranks. Then it's: Nice little political career you got here. Pity that something should happen to it. Especially if you break with Mr. Big on his Iran policy.

I wonder what Harry Reid knows about his Senate caucus, and exactly what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knows that keeps her House Democrats in line.

It's a cunning scheme. The boss winks at his Democratic rank-and-file whenever they breach the rules: Hey, everybody does it! But you note the violation down in your little black book, and when the time comes to twist an arm for a vote, you don't even need to break a sweat.

Compare this educated and evolved system with the crude initiation rites to criminal gangs in which you have to kill someone to join. That way you have to stick with the gang through thick and thin, because the gang has the goods on the guys you killed. You'll agree it's completely different.

I have a friend who wants politicians to start cooperating and compromising. But where do you start when the president and his henchmen act like they are running a criminal gang? Under the Obama rules you don't enter the smoke-filled room thinking about the best deal for you and your supporters, you go in wondering what the president's men know about you, and you quiver with fright.

That way you never get down to talking ordinary political give and take, and get to warn the president's men that you are getting a lot of pushback from the folks back home on the president's latest plan.

Compromise? Maybe when the Republicans get back to the White House. Then maybe we'll get compromises like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the bipartisan achievements of the Bush years. Wouldn't it be great in 2017 if Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan could get a bipartisan Medicare reform and ObamaCare repair package through Congress?

In politics, people compromise when they know they are beaten, but figure they can salvage something out of the train-wreck. That's where we hope the Democrats will be in 2017

Meanwhile the Obama Democrats are stuck with their thug strategy. There's a problem with that; you can't ever let up on the thuggery, because everyone that's ever had a visit from your enforcer hates your guts.

I wonder what the Democratic Party would look like if everyone weren't looking over their shoulder wondering what California Nance or Bugsy Harry or Big Ears Barry had got on them?

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

There are a couple things about the Obama years that have registered “does not compute” for me. The first was the complete powder taken by the media. Yes, I know that they are all ruling-class liberals that believe in all the received liberal notions and still swoon today at the thought of a First Black President. But you would have thought that, here and there, a liberal journalist would have popped his head above the parapet to take a potshot at the president. Because fame and celebrity. But really there was nothing for six long years until after the 2014 midterms.

The other thing that did not compute has been the extraordinary discipline of the Democrats in Congress. I could accept that in 2010 the Democrats would all vote as one over the passage of ObamaCare. Even so, we still got to see the purchase of the final votes in the Senate as predicted in the settled science of Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent. But I still don't understand the way that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) exercised supreme power over the Senate in 2013-14. I was taught that the Senate was supposed to be full of prima donnas and primo tenores that couldn't be forced to do anything. Not only that, but senators are supposed to be wily politicians. You tell me that none of them saw the 2014 wave coming, and none of them had the self-preservation instinct to break out of the pack and save themselves from the GOP onslaught?

Journalists are understandably timid. They live by their sources, and if they don't toady to their sources, then good-bye sources, and good-bye career. The case of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson is the exception that proves the rule. CBS was OK with her investigation of Bushies, but not Obamis. And if the CBS brass didn't get the message there were designated Obama bullies ready to read the riot act.

I think we are coming to understand the other “does not compute” now that the Justice Department has decided to prosecute Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The Dem officeholders have been kept in line because someone is keeping a little list of all their little foibles. It's a delightful system. The Obama administration does nothing about corrupt acts by its supporters until the day that a supporter breaks ranks. Then it's: Nice little political career you got here. Pity that something should happen to it. Especially if you break with Mr. Big on his Iran policy.

I wonder what Harry Reid knows about his Senate caucus, and exactly what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knows that keeps her House Democrats in line.

It's a cunning scheme. The boss winks at his Democratic rank-and-file whenever they breach the rules: Hey, everybody does it! But you note the violation down in your little black book, and when the time comes to twist an arm for a vote, you don't even need to break a sweat.

Compare this educated and evolved system with the crude initiation rites to criminal gangs in which you have to kill someone to join. That way you have to stick with the gang through thick and thin, because the gang has the goods on the guys you killed. You'll agree it's completely different.

I have a friend who wants politicians to start cooperating and compromising. But where do you start when the president and his henchmen act like they are running a criminal gang? Under the Obama rules you don't enter the smoke-filled room thinking about the best deal for you and your supporters, you go in wondering what the president's men know about you, and you quiver with fright.

That way you never get down to talking ordinary political give and take, and get to warn the president's men that you are getting a lot of pushback from the folks back home on the president's latest plan.

Compromise? Maybe when the Republicans get back to the White House. Then maybe we'll get compromises like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the bipartisan achievements of the Bush years. Wouldn't it be great in 2017 if Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan could get a bipartisan Medicare reform and ObamaCare repair package through Congress?

In politics, people compromise when they know they are beaten, but figure they can salvage something out of the train-wreck. That's where we hope the Democrats will be in 2017

Meanwhile the Obama Democrats are stuck with their thug strategy. There's a problem with that; you can't ever let up on the thuggery, because everyone that's ever had a visit from your enforcer hates your guts.

I wonder what the Democratic Party would look like if everyone weren't looking over their shoulder wondering what California Nance or Bugsy Harry or Big Ears Barry had got on them?

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.