Race to the Bottom: Conservative Republicans vs. Conservative Democrats

I’m sure that I’m not alone among progressives in wringing my hands over the seemingly unshakable power of conservatives in the Senate to block progress. Republicans have been and continue to be pummeled into the ground by public opinion; surely we should be able to get good legislation passed. Yet Democratic gains never seem to be enough; we’re always just a few votes short.

The problem, of course, is those members of the Senate Democratic caucus who are themselves conservative, or “centrist” or “moderate”. I like Markos’ take on this issue:

All this desire for everyone to agree is creepy, and more indicative of the Broderites who want everyone to agree with them, rather than any desire for real consensus that might exclude their own ideas.

I feel like idealogically middle-of-the-road Senators like Pryor, Nelson, and Lincoln simply perceive that they’ll have more power disagreeing with progressives and the President than if they were more amenable to good legislation. The talk about a Senate Blue Dog coalition is just more demonstrative for these senators’ passion for power.

I think a multi-party system, necessitating coalition governments, would be a better form of democracy than the two-party system we currently have. The formation of oppositional groups within the same party is a similar step, but still. It’s nice believing that the majority of members of congress are on your side. Being reminded that large chunks of your party disagree with you for largely overcautious and political reasons is no fun.

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