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Friday, December 18, 2009



KB: Some interesting points on foreign policy but on the domestic front, the Democrats were able to keep their coalition together to pass a historic piece of legislation (whatever one thinks of the bill). So, doesn't this speak to the ability of the Democrats to get their majority in order---a majority that is much more ideologically diverse than the Republican minority?


Erik: yes. Getting a bill out, as now seems very likely, is a very impressive achievement. But in this case, all the weight in the party was pulling in the direction of radical reform. The hard part was keeping the more vulnerable members on board.

Whatever one thinks of the bill as a matter of policy, the above achievement relies on a very cynical manipulation of the numbers. The true expense of the bill, the fact that it is going to mean spending more rather than less on health care, the dramatic extension of federal powers under the bill, all these things were artfully concealed in order to bring over the moderate Democrats. In spite of all that, public opposition is about as strong as I have seen it on any issue. Unless things change in a big way, I'll be tempted to say next November what you said only a few months ago: that the other party is merely a regional party.

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