Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Need a Shot in the Arm?

Here is Jonathan Bernstein, quoted in full:


OK, so, the Democrats are now down more vote than they had when they passed the stimulus (albeit with Specter, who has not been replaced on the GOP side, as far as we know). Liberal bloggers urging Dems not to panic are exactly correct, but at the same time there seems to be a lot of fatalism among liberals that, well, Democrats always panic in these sort of situations.

That's not true. Democrats did not panic, for example, over the train wreck in the winter of 1995-1996. Democrats did not panic over impeachment in 1998. Indeed, Democrats did not panic this year when Obama's ratings fell in the spring, or over the August crazy, or after the VA and NJ elections in November. Individual Democrats said some things (in all of these cases) that were off-script. But overall, Democratic elected officials did not panic. The sense some Dems have that their party is a bunch of 'fraidy-cats is mostly, if not entirely, a myth.

Odds are they won't this time, either. Sure, they'll flail around for a few days, but before long they'll realize that flip-flopping isn't going to get them anywhere, and they'll pass around this fun graph by Joshua Tucker, and they'll realize that even if they want to meet Republicans halfway on everything that it isn't an available strategy.

In other words, not only is it good advice for Democrats not to panic, but it's also good advice to Democrats not to panic about the possibility that Democrats will panic.

Which is not to say, "Return to your complacency that worked so well in Massachusetts, liberal Dems!" But at this point, I think JB correctly identifies the bigger concern.

Put your fretful energy to good use. Call your Representative, and urge him or her to pass the Senate version of the bill as is. Sucky it may be, but we can fix it later.

(h/t: claymisher)


By the way, JB doesn't link, but I think he* means by "this fun graph" this (via, via):


*[Update] Link added to blockquote. Thanks for noticing, JB.


Jonathan Bernstein said...

Yup, that's the graph that I meant to point to (link fixed now).

And absolutely -- instead of carefully parsing every statement to make sure that no one is saying something stupid, rank-and-file Dems should be out there calling their reps, or volunteering for a candidate in an upcoming primary if there is one in their state, or (if they have the cash) contributing to a candidate.

Really good point, and one that I should have made in the original post.

Brendan said...

Thanks for checking in, Jonathan, and thanks again for your much-needed post.