How To Regain Trust In Government: By Governing

So many want to focus on GOP obstruction as the problem regarding health care reform. This is a dodge. The Democrats control the Presidency and both houses of Congress. If there is a failure of governance, particularly on health care reform, the fault will be placed, properly, on Democrats. Ezra Klein writes:

What Republicans -- and, when they're out of power, Democrats -- are doing is essentially discrediting the political process. . . . Republicans may think they've found a clever strategy in making it hard for Democrats to govern, but what they're really doing is making it nearly impossible for anyone to govern. American politics is trapped in a cycle of minority obstruction, and though that's good for whomever the minority is at the moment, it's not particularly good for making progress on pressing issues.

This is simply false. Republicans governed during the Bush Administration. They governed very badly. But they governed. I can only speculate why Ezra insists on emulating David Broder (personal ambitions?), but it is demonstrably false.

If Democrats want to be successful, they need to understand that it is their turn to govern, not the Republicans. And if they fail to govern well, they will rightly be held to account. That is how politics works. And that is how it should work. Elections are supposed to be about choices. Republicans do not agree with Democrats. If the electorate chooses Republicans, then Republicans should enact Republican policies. If they fail (as they did), they get voted out. Same for Dems. It's called accountability.

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    Republicans did indeed govern during (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:05:13 PM EST
    the Bush Administration.

    One may take issue with the nature and quality of their "accomplishments", but they certainly had no problem advancing the ball - and while their were Democratic enablers in that mix - their success was due to the fact that they got with the program and exhibited no fear about how extreme their policies were - they believed in what they were doing - or at least the appeared to believe - which makes a difference - this President and Congress are coming off as wishy washy and easily swayed and most of it is really internal conflict - not near as much GOP obstruction as people would like to pretend it is.

    No way (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:28:30 PM EST
    I refuse to allow Democrat's to blame the Republican's now. The Bush administration steam rolled over everyone and everything in order to push through it's agenda. What they couldn't accomplish through Congress, they did with signing statements, reconciliation or criminal acts. But they did it.

    We were given a steady diet of excuses from Pelosi and Reid that because the Dem's were a minority they were powerless to stop Bush.

    Well the tables have turned.  And as Republican's were quick to point out: "Elections have consequences".

    Either use the power given to you by the electorate or lose it.

    Our problem is not the Republicans (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:36:25 PM EST
    We have a Democratic president, sometime this week we will have a 60 seat majority in the Senate and a large majority in the House. Our problem is not the Republicans. Our problems is we have too leadership in the Democratic party and too many crappy Democrats.

    Should read (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:39:56 PM EST
    we have too little leadership in the Democratic party

    The leadership thing (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:02:00 PM EST
    would certainly help with the crappy Democrat part of the equation.

    It all starts with leadership and that can only come from the top.


    But we've always had crappy Dems (none / 0) (#14)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:44:43 PM EST
    hell a Democratic congress has with a few exceptions fought and/or pushed every Democratic president since Carter (Carter was I believe pushed Left while Clinton and Obama have been pushed to the right- in the Senate at least).  We've never (at least not in my lifetime- and perhaps not since LBJ, and before that FDR) had the kind of party unity the GOP is blessed/cursed with.

    Agree (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:59:13 PM EST
    It is the reason why we are 60 years behind on providing universal, affordable health care to the citizens of this country.

    I guess I view it as a mixed blessing (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:14:38 PM EST
    I mean I think we need to shift to the left so its a bad thing, but on other hand it keeps us from becoming the sort of vicious cycle that GOP has were they gain power-become ever more extreme with purges- and finally lose power- but (at least this time) instead of moderating they keep going right- I mean seriously, the GOP is in danger of becoming a regional party notwithstanding the results in 2010 and 2012- especially if they don't moderate, and moderate fast on immigration- if they do to the Hispanic electorate what they did to the Black electorate via the "Southern Strategy" the rest of the American Southwest (including Texas) is going to go the way of California within 15-20 years (see California pre and post Prop 187 and Pete Wilson- this used to be a toss up state governed by both Dems and Republicans- now its deep blue and it only elects a Repub in a freak election-recount- or if he's basically a Dem who also happens to be one of the biggest celebs on the planet and a guy who gets to run against a divided Dem party- Arnold's re-election). To summarize- we can't govern super effectively but we also don't face the prospect of total annihilation.  

    I fail to see why the Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 04:24:18 PM EST
    becoming a regional party is relevant. They don't have to be the majority party since the Democrats are more than willing to pass their agenda items for them. No matter how few their numbers, they still control the legislation passed in Congress.

    Too true, the GOP cohort has hit upon (none / 0) (#54)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 07:47:45 PM EST
    a totally nefarious and fail-proof way of governing without accountability. Namely, make the Dems enact GOP policy and make sure they also squarely take the blame for it.

    At this rate, I don't see why the GOP, and their benefactors, would ever want to win back the House, the Senate, or the Presidency. In fact, I bet they're banking on losing the next couple of rounds.


    To me, part of the problem is (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:55:43 PM EST
    we have the same leadership in Congress, i.e., Pelosi and Reid, who were so GOP-compliant before Obama reached the WH.  

    Don't kid yourself (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:09:31 PM EST
    given the margin of victory that Obama had everything could have changed if he had any shred of committed intent to lead. His message through the primaries and into the White House was to avoid pressing a partisan advantage.  This is the price we're paying.

    Party leadership comes from the top of the Party and when you hold the White House that's the top of the Party.


    Of course. But what Pres. would (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:15:04 PM EST
    work to replace the Speaker and Maj. leader who were so quick to support his candidacy?

    Forget the support (none / 0) (#35)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:17:37 PM EST
    what president tries to replace his parties congressional leadership doing so is what leads to stuff like Carters troubles with congress- you don't want fire coming from all sides.

    Possibly (none / 0) (#33)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:16:20 PM EST
    but to what degree was his margin due to his non-confrontational message- I mean in both the primaries and in the general you have to figure a significant portion of moderates chose Obama due to his approach to governance.

    I'm not sure (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:28:53 PM EST
    They chose Obama because of Bush. He had totally run every aspect of the country into the ground. By the time the election rolled around and the economy tanked Elmer Fudd could have beat McCain.

    and yet (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by cawaltz on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 05:51:07 PM EST
    many made the argument Hillary Clinton couldn't or wouldn't win. We heard all about how she would experience media bias and that would likely be the end of her or alot of the Democrats downticket.

    Non-confrontation message. (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 05:01:47 PM EST
    From a person who is very charismatic and held the press in the palm of his hand.  And the under 30s.  I don't recall hearing any Obama supporters in the primary or GE say they were voting for him because they supported his "style of governing."

    Current leadership? (none / 0) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:30:02 PM EST
    White House Budget Director Peter Orszag talked about his support for so-called "co-ops" and "triggers."

        Orszag signaled the administration doesn't consider a government-run insurance program essential to the legislation. He suggested it would be sufficient to either create nonprofit insurance-purchasing cooperatives or set "triggers" to activate a public option if needed to cut costs..."The goal here is just to introduce more competition where competition is inadequate," Orszag said. "Either one could work." link

    "If the electorate chooses Republicans" (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:51:52 PM EST
    the really weird part is that when Bush came in, placed there by the SC with no imaginable claim to a mandate they acted like he had one.  and got pretty much everything they wanted.

    we come in with a clear mandate.  a pretty crushing presidential victory and both houses of congress and they are still afraid of their shadow.

    I will make the prediction that if the democrats screw this up 2010 and 2012 will be the best years for independents in american politics in generations.

    This (none / 0) (#22)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:57:07 PM EST
    as much as public support for Obama and the Dems has eroded (and the amount it has eroded for Obama is heavily overstated by some) it hasn't gone up for the GOP by any significant amount- 2010 could be a historically low turnout year because of this.

    I'm glad someone gets it. (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:17:30 PM EST
    Heck, I thought everyone got it and we were just waiting for Obama to move into the WH, where we would finally be able to establish Government-Democratic-Style.  

    We would lead the country out of the bad places Bush and the Republicans had taken it, we would illuminate all the dark corners and have transparent, accountable government, we would restore the rule of law, clean out the Justice Department, make the CIA accountable to Congress, roll back the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, not just end torture, but close the black site prisons, and hold people accountable for breaking the law, repudiate the policies of the Bush administration and make clear they have no place and no legitimacy in American policy.  And, we were going to make sure all Americans had access to affordable health care.

    What's just too sad and horrifying for words is that we have the ability and the power to do all of these things.

    What we don't have is leadership that believes in these things and sees how vital they are to our national and international interest.

    And seeing that there is a lack of leadership at the top, it should have become incumbent on the Democratic Congressional leadership to take the reins and push those policies ahead; if Obama could not or would not rise to the occasion and commit to something, anything, it was up to the Congress to show him the way.

    That seems to be more or less a failure, too.  And what is the excuse there?  Oh, right - the Blue Dogs, for whom so many fought so hard for and gave so much money to, so that they could call themselves Democrats while acting like Republicans.  But does anyone seriously believe that if Obama put the pressure on, those Blue Dogs would continue to defy the rest of their party?

    The problem is that we ended up with a president who cannot bring himself to corral the Congressional Democrats in order to get a win for the American people - no, we got a president who doesn't care what he wins, only that he wins.

    And we thought the Bush years were long and painful.  Sheesh.

    Let us know when HRC (2.00 / 1) (#53)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 07:34:44 PM EST
    resigns in protest over having to work for this self-absorbed, completely out for himself usurper.

    So (none / 0) (#56)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 08:16:16 PM EST
    that the media can pile on and call her a "quitter".

    The media likes nothing more than to bash a Clinton.


    Point of View (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by pluege on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 06:21:55 PM EST
    They [republicans] governed very badly.

    this is only from the progressive/sane person point of view. From the republican point of view bush/cheney and the rubber stamp congress were wildly successful:

    • massive wealth give away to the wealthy
    • endless illegal, unnecessary war.
    • eviscerating environmental protections
    • eviscerated financial industry regulation
    • destroyed union jobs
    • massive increase in the police state and evisceration of civil rights
    • institutionalized dictatorial powers.
    • installed crazed wingnuts on SCOTUS

    no one could have be more successful at governing than bush/cheney from the republican point of view.

    Yet the Republicans broke so many things, (none / 0) (#2)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:13:38 PM EST
    it is making it much harder for the Democrats to govern well.

    How different would the health care debate be if we had the Clinton surplus instead of the Bush deficit?

    How much better off would the economy be if Bush didn't leave us with the greatest wealth disparity since the 1930s (notice the decade there?)

    Would Obama have better choices in Afghanistan if Bush hadn't screwed us over with Iraq?

    How many Christianists are burrowed in the DOJ and other agencies?

    FEMA, SEC, CFTC, EPA, FCC--those agencies rae in SUCH a big hole thanks to Bush.

    I think we all underestimate, even now, how much damage Bush did to the levers of government, hell, to the whole machine.

    Even if Obama and the Democrats do govern well, it may take much more time for that to become evident than we like, or the American people have patience for (and generally I think they are way too impatient).

    Eight years of major termite damage needs a whole lot of carpentry work and lumber to fix.

    True, but (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:26:45 PM EST
    Voters a) don't care whose fault it is at some point when they are wondering how they are going to pay next month's bills and b) all these people wanted the jobs - it's time to stop making excuses and do something.

    Sure (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:50:38 PM EST
    Bush and the Republicans did massive damage.

    That damage can be undone and/or repaired and it will take time.

    BUT, there should be some sign of a real start, not just in fixing damage but in greasing the skids by performing good acts.

    That, performing good acts, is doable but we haven't seen the will or desire to do so and we've seen some golden opportunities bypassed to preserve a petrifying status quo.


    Afghanistan sucks (none / 0) (#20)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:54:22 PM EST
    I'm worried that it will take a GOP president to end it (like Vietnam) because if a Dem does it they'll painted as soft on Terror- all this despite the fact that Bush probably killed any chance of actually "winning" by shifting forces to Iraq at a critical moment.

    Again (5.00 / 5) (#43)
    by Steve M on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 04:33:48 PM EST
    "I would have done the right thing, but the other side would have demagogued it" is not really an excuse the voters are interested in hearing.

    If you have the highest job in the land, the job description requires that you suck it up and not worry about whether someone might call you mean names.  LBJ was, indeed, worried about whether the GOP would Red-bait him if he didn't commit to Vietnam - and look at how history has judged him for it.


    Re: Differences (none / 0) (#55)
    by mentaldebris on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 08:09:46 PM EST
    How different would the health care debate be if we had the Clinton surplus instead of the Bush deficit?

    Not much if the insurance lobbyists and bought Blue Dogs were still part of the mix.  I doubt the end result would be much different because the players and their agendas would still be exactly the same, surplus or not.

    Economy-The trickle down NAFTA economy was set to kill the middle class and destined to tank since Reagan/Bush Voodoed it.  Clinton didn't help matters all that much with the deregulation done on his watch, although he enjoyed a few lucrative bubbles during the salad days.  Bush II just reaped what was already sown through lack of even rudimentary oversight. I don't envy Obama the mess but I also don't expect much from his team to fix it.

    Afghanistan - Where Empires go to die.  The situation needs a scalpel, not a hammer.  At least Obama appears to be considering that option.

    Moles-I'd feel better if the administration were actively rooting them out (DOJ,) but they appear to be too busy for that task. Or could it be it might upset someone on the right? Can't be upsetting anyone on the right.

    You're right, it's a mess.  I just don't see this group making the hard decisions to fix it. It simply wouldn't be bipartisan enough for them. Incrementally patch it up and call it "reform".


    simply false (none / 0) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:18:50 PM EST
    not only that.  it ignores the fact that this is basically how our governance is and always has been constructed.

    is it not.

    Not really (none / 0) (#8)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:35:35 PM EST
    this isn't the "alltime high in partisanship" like some morons- see Gregory/Broder, David claim (the 90s were worse, the split was worse on many issues-civil rights- in the 1950-1970s but that was primarily along regional as opposed to partisan lines, and was much, much worse in the mid-1800s- Joe Wilson's predecessor beat a fellow congressman with a cane for gods sakes, and in the late 1700s-early 1800s the Adam's-Jefferson split was far worse than this)  but we are at a high partisanship cycle- primarily because the GOP has been captured by its most extreme elements and is becoming increasingly a regional party where deviation from the party line isn't tolerated- things like pushing out Specter were insane- the guy is a Senator from a moderate-to-moderately Democratic state the same thing happened in Rhode Island, and if the GOP ever tries to do the same in Maine with Collins and Snowe they'll basically have succeeded in eliminating the entire area of the country East of the Miss. and north of the Mason-Dixon- that's what's almost unprecedented- the only thing I can think of thats similar were the shifts that occured in the mid-1800s and the mid-1900s one of which led to the birth of the GOP, the other of which nearly destroyed the Southern branch of the Democratic party (Dixiecrat breakoff), only this time there's no corresponding offset in another region to preserve the partisan balance.

    Actually (none / 0) (#4)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:25:54 PM EST
    after the the Democratic Party awoke from its post-9/11 fugue state we did a pretty good job of obstructing from mid fall 2005 to the 2006 elections, the difference is that we were obstructing crap not necessary reforms (though they probably view this as the opposite of reality.

    We obstructed what exactly? (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:31:14 PM EST
    It was the failure to have GOP support that foiled Bush's attempts to privatize Social Security. Unless you believe Dems would have sustained a filibuster (changes to Social Security can not be made by reconciliation - a Senate rule precludes it).

    Immigration reform was not blocked by Dems.

    As for the rest of Bush's agenda, I do not remember any rollbacks after 2006, do you?

    In any event, compared to Bush in 2001, when he lost the election and there were 50 Dem Senators, it is impossible to argue that Obama is having his way in the same manner.


    But it was far easier to spend the (none / 0) (#10)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:37:02 PM EST
    first trillion dollars (Iraq).  Then maybe a little harder to spend the next trillion dollars (tax cuts for the wealthy).

    Now it's even harder to spend the next two trillion--stimulus and health care.

    It's harder to make good defense choices when the military is so depleted.

    Unfortunately, Obama was not given a blank slate to start from.  If he were, then I'd find it much easier to blame him for not acting as decisively as Bush.  He's starting way in the hole, making some of his policy choices much more constrained.


    That and 9-11 (none / 0) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:51:58 PM EST
    people can't discount the impact of it- it basically gave Bush and the GOP massive capital, and made opposing the GOP insanely hard- for god's sakes it allowed them to unseat a conservative Democratic Senator who was a triple amputee veteran and first proposed the Department of Homeland Security, on National Security grounds because he opposed the Bush's DHS proposals which allowed him to strip Union jobs from the civil service. The only things that are even comparable in the last century are the two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Assasination of JFK (possibly Watergate as well)- all of which were followed by the kinds of political power that normally wouldn't be possible (be it the Sedition stuff with Wilson, the New Deal passing virtually unchecked in the first 100 days, or the Civil Rights measures that LBJ pushed through).

    Bush tax cuts were passed pre-9/11 (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:15:45 PM EST
    Via reconciliation (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:15:56 PM EST
    I think Social Security was a succuess (none / 0) (#12)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:41:52 PM EST
    you have to remember Bush launched a full court press to reform it following a Presidential re-election where he claimed to have "won a mandate" and considering how the Democratic Party had been consistently rolled post-9/11 (DHS- the unions not its creation which we actually proposed, Iraq, the Patriot Act, the scope and power of the 9-11 commission, etc.) it was by no means a definite that he would fail- in retrospect it looks like classic overreach but I really think you have to view that as the beginning of the Democratic return to power- it fractured Bush's base and united and grew our own, it was followed by Katrina and Immigration Reform (the latter of which the Democratic Party actually backed with Bush while happily watching the GOP slit the throat of its future).

    Social Security just showed that (none / 0) (#13)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:44:41 PM EST
    they weren't totally idiotic, not that they aren't idiots.  It helps that Bush passed that horrible Medicare Part D bill first - had it been the other way around - SS first instead - I don't know what shape Social Security would be in right now.

    Part D was just a boondoggle (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:46:15 PM EST
    and frankly brilliant politics on the part of the Bush team- co-opting the AARP made it really hard for Democrats to stand up to it- despite the fact that in principle it was the right thing to do.

    Not idiotic only to a point (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:59:54 PM EST
    The GOP would have done it.  The difference is that their feet were finally placed on the third rail and they knew what that meant.

    We can expect this will come up again and again and again and it certainly didn't help when Obama brought up SS financing during the primaries.


    Correct. (none / 0) (#28)
    by AX10 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:12:49 PM EST
    The Democrats did not stop anything.

    Recall this piece of trash:



    Except so many are not (none / 0) (#19)
    by me only on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 02:53:59 PM EST
    held accountable.  

    If they fail (as they did), they get voted out.

    Do you really think Pelosi is going to get voted out?  Maybe as Speaker but her district isn't going to vote her out.  Hell Rangel is revamping taxes for the last several years and using a rent controlled apartment as an office.  Think he'll get voted out?

    It's so simple even a cave man can do it (none / 0) (#26)
    by dead dancer on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:05:13 PM EST

    Obama does not have control (none / 0) (#38)
    by Saul on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:31:42 PM EST
    of his own party.  Not like Johnson who was chief of his politcal party par excellence. He ruled with an iron hand.  In his school it went like this.  

    If you vote against my legislation I will not support you in your re election.  I will support another democrat  candidate and you will loose.  It's call hard ball.

    Do you get the impression (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by cawaltz on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 05:57:09 PM EST
    he wants control of his own party? I don't. I get the impression that he is much more interested in making nice with the opposition than in actually leading his own party in the direction it wishes to go. Then again, this is a guy who revered Reagan, didn't want mandates, so social security in crisis and is surrounded by free marketers like Goolsbee. He's always given me the impression he was a moderate Republican rather than the liberal Democrat we needed to pull us back towards the center. I think it'd be easier for him to lead the Dems if he actually appeared to be on the same page of the book(as opposed to reading an entirely different book).

    Maybe because (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:36:09 PM EST
    Johnson was around in the Senate for more than a handful of days - long enough to learn the ropes and long enough to become Majority Leader?

    Yep but you can learn from him (none / 0) (#40)
    by Saul on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:41:21 PM EST
    You don't necessarily had to experienced exactly what he did just use that power to do good.  Obama can use the same tactics just as good as Johnson did without having to had Johnson's experience.

    But (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 03:47:44 PM EST
    That seems to be out of Obama's horizon.  There are many things he could have learned from FDR, Truman, Clinton, and even Carter.  Seems like he isn't interested.

    Well, the experience helps because (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 04:37:48 PM EST
    the people you are threatening not to support, or whatever your stick is, have learned by watching you over the years that you will make good on your threats.

    Those tactics are only as good as your credibility. Obama had no track record with these people.


    Nothing like starting now (none / 0) (#48)
    by Saul on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 05:59:09 PM EST
    You got to start somewhere.  I pretty sure when Johnson first tried it it worked for him.

    I'd rather not have another (none / 0) (#52)
    by brodie on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 07:34:17 PM EST
    manipulating liar as president who cut ethical and legal corners like Lyndon (and Bush Jr), thank you very much.

    What did those tactics get us?  The Tonkin Gulf Resolution and the VN War.  

    Otherwise, as noted elsewhere, for all the blather about Lyndon twisting arms, he never got complete "control" of his own party -- except early on for escalating in VN.


    I agree and disagree (none / 0) (#57)
    by Saul on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 08:17:00 PM EST
    Yep Johnson was a crook, but he will go down in history as one of the most powerful presidents.  No other president other than FDR got so many major pieces  major pieces of legislation passed.  He got that done by being tuff and intimidating.  If you are going to be a bully at least use your power  to get good things done.  No other president since him have passed major pieces of legislation.  Obama has a chance to pass one major one  HCR.  

    I don't know what you're saying here (none / 0) (#51)
    by brodie on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 07:28:10 PM EST
    -- Johnson was elected by the caucus as Dem Leader before he'd even finished his first senate term.

    Though it makes for a good (none / 0) (#50)
    by brodie on Wed Sep 23, 2009 at 07:26:27 PM EST
    Big Daddy John Wayne type of stern father figure laying down the law story, I'm not sure how much this was true

    If you vote against my legislation I will not support you in your re election.  I will support another democrat  candidate and you will loose.  It's call hard ball.

    at least when he was president.  Recall that there were a number of congressional Dem defectors on major legislation like Civil and Voting Rts and Medicare.  A number of them otherwise his political and personal allies -- i.e., the southern Dems.  Did Johnson exact retribution for their Nay votes?  I don't think so.  They were Lyndon's natural and original base.

    The only time though as president he could have acted against Dems wandering off the reservation was in 1966, and the record shows there that instead of being interested in their votes on his GS legislation, LBJ was more concerned about whether they'd been supporting him on his War in Vietnam.

    Of course, by 1966 he'd become much less of a popular figure in the land, and in any event he barely showed up anywhere to campaign that year -- probably from fear of being either irrelevant or ineffective.