Can This Country Be Governed?

Let’s start with a message from this disgruntled gentleman:

Okay then. On to the news.

It appears Senate Democrats are preparing to abandon attempts to keep the $15 minimum wage, or a variation thereof, in the Senate covid relief bill. The plan to penalize large companies that pay low wages is also being abandoned after it became clear over the weekend that getting all 50 Democratic senators to agree on language for the provision could drag on indefinitely. The Dems want the whole thing signed into law by March 14, when current extended unemployment benefits expire.

Related to this, on Friday Paul Waldman wrote that “Republicans seem unable to find their opposition mojo.” The great Republican outrage machine is still chugging away, but its reach ain’t what it used to be. “Social conservatives are getting exorcised about transgender rights — but much of the party seems uninterested in taking up this rallying cry,” Waldman writes. “There’s plenty of apocalyptic rhetoric on Fox News, but it isn’t doing much to affect the rest of the debate (and Fox’s greatest influence comes when it shapes mainstream news coverage).”

The outrage machine has been unable to persuade Americans outside of the hard-core base that Joe Biden is the devil, and this has impeded the Right’s ability to whip up opposition to what Biden is trying to do. It’s also the case that a whole lot of people are really really hurting because of the pandemic and really really need more relief from the government. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 68 percent of Americans support the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion covid relief bill, and only 24 precent oppose it. Getting voters angry at Democrats about transgender girls playing sports isn’t working.

So, now is the time for Democrats to push ahead to enact their undiluted agenda.  But after the relief package passes, they’ll be up against the filibuster. And a few Democrats still think it’s more important to preserve the filibuster than, you know, pass anything. How we’re gong to get around that, I do not know. I fear that after the relief bill we’re looking at an unbroken several months of obstruction followed by a disaster in the 2022 midterm elections. The GOP may be flailing around more than usual, but it still controls a lot of states, and in those states Republicans are pushing full speed ahead with voter suppression.

I highly recommend David Atkins’s  Voter Suppression Is The Only Policy Agenda Left for a White Christian Identity Party at Washington Monthly. There’s a lot packed into this, and you don’t need a subscription to read it. I’m just going to quote the ending here:

All they have left is opposition, voter suppression and judges. Don’t do anything about crises–but also don’t let anyone else do anything about them, either. Don’t say the racism too loud (though that’s changing fast), but also make sure no one else gets to vote or have any power. Don’t pass any laws, but just let some extremist Federalist Society judges stop anyone else from passing any laws, either.

This dynamic is not going to change anytime soon, regardless of how long Trump holds sway over the party.

Oh, yes, the T word. See also Atkins’s As CPAC Goes, So Goes the GOP. And It’s Not Looking Good. And Greg Sargent, at WaPo, today:

Amid the stream of delusion, depravity, malevolence and megalomania that characterized Donald Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, one message should be regarded as arguably more important than all the others combined.

It’s this: The former president told his audience that the Republican Party’s success in coming years depends, in no small part, on its commitment to being an anti-democracy party.

We could be looking at a great turnaround for American democracy and prosperity, or we could be looking at a fizzle of bills that fail to pass and the continued erosion of democracy and U.S. standard of living. Unfortunately, right now it looks as if the future hinges on the likes of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Damn.

11 thoughts on “Can This Country Be Governed?

  1. So, now is the time for Democrats to push ahead to enact their undiluted agenda. But after the relief package passes, they’ll be up against the filibuster.

    Not so sure about that. I’ve read there are (2) shots at reconciliation, then up against the filibuster.

    …Lucky for Democrats, Congress did not enact a budget resolution for the current 2021 fiscal year. That means two reconciliation bills can be enacted this calendar year (one for this fiscal year and one for the next). The Biden administration and congressional Democratic leaders plan to use the first to enact COVID-19 relief and stimulus legislation, in the likely event that a bipartisan deal cannot be worked out with Republicans, to avoid or overcome a Senate filibuster. A second bill will still be available for other legislation later.

  2. We are looking at gridlock in Congress for the next two years. Yes, we have the majority in the House and the Senate. We have the WH. We do not have the power to do anything significant except through reconciliation. And even what we do through reconciliation can only be as liberal as the most conservative Senator will allow.

    SO spare me your tantrums and your fantasies about applying enough "pressure" on Joe Manchin. I'm not opposed to trying – I may make a call or send an email. But I don't expect anything to change his mind. Fifteen per hour is dead for two years. I'm as angry as you are. The solution is NOT to make Joe Manchin into something he's not. The solution is a stronger majority in the Senate in 2022. And then tell Joe to go screw himself.

    You want to know how to end the filibuster and get the minimum wage up to $15, pass immigration reform, maybe pass a wealth tax, pass the For The People Act… all stuff that a Richardhead like Manchin won't vote for until it's amended to complete impotence. 

    So flail away for the next 18 months – waste the energy on Democrats in the Senate who sold their souls and aren't even curious about redemption. Want to know what you can do? Be strategic. We need at least two more Senate seats out of this map in 2022.,_2022

  3. We Dem's can't blow this! 

    We can't afford to let this Covid disaster go by without proving how important good governance can be in trying circumstances.

    If we have to separate the $15 an hour minimum in order to pass the whole Covid Relief package, than so be it.

    But then that $15 an hour minimum needs to be its own bill. 

    And once that 1.9 Trillion's out there working for the workers, if the RepubliKKKLANS are really and truly going to be "the working folks'" party, like they're now saying they are, then they'll gladly vote for that raise to the minimum wage! Right? What? No?

    Why not?!?  

    Stand aside for the "bullshit" conveyer-belt.  It's right next to the "excuses" spigot.



  4. All those wasted word-turds above, and I didn't even mention the most obvious thing we can do to make America at least a smidge more governable: 


  5. Obama said the U.S. Government is like a big ship,  you can turn it but it takes a long time.  The former captain had it heading full speed toward the rocks.  We are not sure yet if we are going to keep it from running aground.  

    First the good news.  The Johnson and Johnson vaccine give us a one shot treatment for the Pandemic.  It is much easier to store and waste will be reduced.  The supply of vaccine is immediately increased by a large amount.  The case rate of new infections has been on a downward trend and is now below 70,000  per day.  The system to administer the vaccine seems much more organized and more and more people are reporting getting what the British call their jab.  The government message is much improved, but unfortunately states are starting to run amok.  If federal emergency power is needed it must be used quickly, as we have no time to spare.  The virus is mutating, and new strains are more contagious.  The virus can mutate and develop immunity from the virus.  When states should be re doubling control efforts, they are risking premature easing of restrictions.  

    The job is not finished.  We are close but this is not horseshoes.  How many times have we taken on problems and failed when became afraid of success.  Oh yes, the Republican Party is working hard to promote failure.  The lesson from CPAC is clear.  They are willing to destroy their own party and the democracy to regain control.   The big lie continue to be their guiding beacon.  Their path is the path of the oppositional defiant disordered child, destroying themselves and all around them.  

    Our country is in an emergency, and emergency  powers must be used if needed.  The big job is not yet done.  I trust those who know much more about viruses than I do.  They are not yet close to saying mission accomplished.  They know how tough and adaptive a virus can be.  Like the Republican Party, of late, the virus does not care what it destroys in the process of assuring it's own survival.  We must win against both and do so quickly.  


    • The epidemic may be leveling off but not to fear, the Mississippi of the Midwest (aka Indiana) is on the way!  Central Indiana is going to host a super-spreader event (set of events) for a few weeks this month and early April.

      It is formally called the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  It is expected that they will allow 50% capacity attendance at the games.  Restaurants and bars will be open until 2 AM each day with 75% capacity.  It is expected that 50K plus out-of-state visitors will attend.

      At least the downtown Indianapolis restaurants, bars, and hotels will make a lot of money!

  6. The Washington Monthly link goes to the Bezos Post instead, which only allows so many free articles per month, as if Amazon Sweatshop Man didn't already have more money than any human being should be allowed to have.

  7. The house should pass a $15/hr bill standalone. This would almost be better than hiding it in the Covid bill. Why hide it? It's popular.

    Send it to Senate. If they don't vote on it, they should get out the megaphone and make it very clear that the GOP does not want to raise wages. This should be repeated every 2 weeks. How many times did the GOP vote to terminate Obamacare? it was a lot.

    We should be hearing Democrats say "minimum wage needs an up or down vote". Remember that phrase, we need an up or down vote? I do. It should NOT be a fillibuster story. The fillibuster is a fig leaf for the GOP, don't fall for it. Repeat after me "This is not about the fillibuster, this is about raising wages for workers in America"

    We should be talking about how the GOP is using bullshit rules to stop the government from raising the wage and helping average hard-working Americans. This lack of political pressure against the GOP repeats across all the issues. Fight for it would you?

    Democrats just suck at the PR aspects of all of this.

    It would not be hard to lay blame on the GOP for stopping things that are popular. Democrats are just too polite, they don't know how to sell it. And then, when they do get someone who's got spark and street smarts, like Ocasio-Cortez, they get told "pipe down Junior", and let the pros handle it…  not.

    But the GOP sees it. When AOC came along, they start breaking her down right away. They see the talent. Democrats, missing the picture…

  8. The country is not ungovernable but there's a sizeable portion of the population that's become increasingly resistant to any rational form of government, and what most people's expectations of what that is.  These are people so deeply deluded and irrational that they may be beyond reach.  Listening to these Trump supporter QAnon types it almost makes you sad for them.  Most of them are sincere in their beliefs and have become untethered from reality.  At some point there's going to be a reckoning, and I pray the country and those of us who want better are strong and loving enough to withstand it.


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