In response to my last post a commenter says

The issue is that the Ryan plan’s chances for passing during this Congress were sunk from the start. There are clear benefits to pushing through an unpopular policy that you believe in if it has a real chance of passing. The Democrats did this last Congress and though they lost a lot of seats, they did end up getting their policy passed in the end.

The Ryan plan never had that chance. The budget had pretty much zero chance of getting 50, much less 60, votes in the Senate and even if it did somehow pass, it would have been vetoed by the President. The only real way for the plan to ever pass would be to focus on doing well in the 2012 elections and passing it then.

I think this is a slight-of-hand approach. What you are saying is that this we are going to accept that this measure is unpopular but wait until we have the majority on some other mandate, pass it and then cross our fingers.

This seems plausible but I think in context it doesn’t look so great.

The problem is that people disagree in principle with what you are trying to do. If you pass it as a one-time shot then that really stacks the deck in favor of the Democratic party surging back to power and reversing the measure.

However, if you stake out a claim that this is what you are about then you can try to build genuine support. Hardcore partisans will be strongly motivated to find arguments in favor of the position. If you keep pushing it the media will keep talking about it. Think tanks will mobilize around it.

Moreover, suppose the idea is just out there as a major plank and everyone knows it. Then if at some point folks decide that they just can’t take the Democrats anymore, then they are implicitly saying, okay I willing to swallow RyanCare in order to get rid of the Dems.

On the other hand if they are shocked then suddenly they will pull back.

I am not saying this is the strategy, but it makes sense as a strategy.

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