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If you aren’t running for office to do stuff, why bother?


At some point I will have processed this horrible news enough to write about it, but the death of a great one should be a stark reminder that you only live once:

We talk a lot about the conservative Dems in the Senate who made the ACA worse — for good reason! — but the Dems in the House who voted for it knowing it was probably a suicide mission have always deserved more credit than they got — they saved a lot of lives, a lot of people from going bankrupt, etc.

Which brings us to the Gottheimer wanker caucus, threatening to blow up Biden’s agenda over some trivial donor service:

If, in 2020, Democrats had won the kind of overwhelming majority they enjoyed at the outset of the Obama administration, one side or the other might be able to win an outright struggle over the party’s agenda. But razor-thin margins in the House and Senate give each side the power to kill most of the other side’s top priorities. The solution is to do both bills at the same time; to link the passage of one to the other. There will be no bipartisan bill if the partisan one isn’t passed, and no partisan bill if the bipartisan one does not come to a vote. If the two sides don’t hang together, then they will both go down to defeat.

For a while, it looked as if Democrats on both sides were on board with this approach. But then the Senate actually passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill. At which point, a group of more conservative Democrats in the House reneged on the deal.

In a letter sent earlier this month, nine Democrats — Representatives Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia, Filemon Vela of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Ed Case of Hawaii, Jim Costa of California and Kurt Schrader of Oregon — warned Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they would not vote for a budget resolution authorizing the partisan reconciliation package unless the House first passed the Senate-approved bipartisan infrastructure bill. “Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months — until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree,” they wrote.

Now it’s two weeks later and they haven’t budged. “Time kills deals,” wrote the nine members in an op-ed for The Washington Post. “This is an old business saying and the essence of why we are pushing to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill through Congress and immediately to President Biden’s desk — as the president himself requested the day after it passed the Senate.”

Only in this case there’s not even any legitimate political reason to do this:

The nine members in question are also out of step with their districts, where the most likely voters back the budget reconciliation package without much in the way of reservation, according to a recent survey from the left-leaning firm Data for Progress.

The facts of the situation aside, it simply boggles the mind to watch another set of conservative and moderate Democrats persuade themselves that they are not subject to the laws of politics and will come out ahead if they, as Democrats, undermine the Democratic president.

We are well past the age of split-ticket voting. If and when voters turn against Biden, they’ll turn against congressional Democrats too. Try as they might, these Democratic skeptics will struggle to distance themselves from their party and its leadership. If past elections are any evidence, they’ll fail.

Life is short. Don’t be like this.

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