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Lessons From the Big-Tent Democrats

The New Republic's John Judis calls our attention to a Washington Post article on California Assemblyman Anthony Adams, who won election in 2006 on a promise to vote against any tax increase, voted for a package of tax increases in 2009, and susequently faced the wrath of conservatives and an attempt to recall him from office.  Adams "had the gall to vote for Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's state budget, which, in the face of a projected $42 billion deficit and unpaid state worker salaries, included modest tax increases," Judis writes archly.

What California Republicans need, of course, is to learn to tolerate diversity within their ranks on issues they consider important.  They should begin by cutting Anthony Adams the same slack on tax increases that The New Republic has extended to Sen. Joe Lieberman on health care.  Judis's colleague Jonathan Chait assessed Lieberman's opposition to the proposed Medicare buy-in this morning in an even-tempered way.  The problem, he explains, is that Lieberman is angry at the liberal Democrats who supported Ned Lamont's primary challenge against him in 2006, so he is happy to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of Americans who would be rescued by Reid/Pelois/Obamacare.  Lieberman has engaged in "obvious bad-faith negotiation" on health care.  The fundamental problem, Chait contends, is that "Lieberman isn't actually all that smart."  After all, "The guy was taken apart by Dick Cheney in the 2000 veep debate."  Enough said!

TNR is light-hearted about Lieberman compared to other Democratic precincts in the blogosphere.  Open Left calls him an "arrogant, insurance flack" who "needs to be stripped of his committee chairmanship and targeted for defeat by Democrats in 2012."  The Huffington Post reports that 81% of Democrats in a survey favor making Lieberman the former chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmantal Affairs Committee.  According to Matthew Yglesias, "The leverage that Lieberman and other "centrists" have obtained on [health care] (and on climate change) stems from a demonstrated willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions."

The California Republicans' problem, according to the Post, is that their bitter reaction to Assemblyman Adams reveals their "chaos and destructive divisions."  If only they could get along as well as the national Democratic party.
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Discussions - 2 Comments

I don't know what to do with this. The WSJ editorial on cost-containment in the health care bill in the Senate ftat-out misleads (lies?) about the New Yorker piece they mention. The piece is interesting indeed, with an extended analogy between agricultural reform and health care cost containment. Read it.

Joe Lieberman as General Zod from Superman II? Nice.

http://reason.com/blog/2009/12/14/you-go-to-reform-health-care-w

But Ezra Klein's comment that "that Lieberman 'seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score'" [emphasis mine] is the kind of thing that really makes a person consider what could possibly possess her in not checking in on the Washington Post every day . . . Sober and rational commentary like that is all too hard to find these days.

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