It’s Not Democrats Fault Republicans Are Tremendous Hacks

Jamison Foser does some digging, and finds that not only did the media not think budget reconcilliation was some great evil when Republicans used them to pass Bush’s 2003 tax cuts on a 50-50 vote, they basically didn’t even realize the process existed, even though they’re pretty much obsessed with it now, and largely convinced that if Democrats use it, it will damage the legitimacy of their legislative agenda. Kevin Drum says this is a failing on the part of Democrats:

In fairness, though, part of the problem here is the Democrats didn’t complain about reconciliation back in 2003. There’s no reason for the media to make a fuss if the opposition party hasn’t bothered to bring it up, after all.This doesn’t excuse the fact that they keep getting basic facts wrong this time around, like the fact that Dems aren’t planning to pass the entire healthcare package through reconciliation, only a small package of amendments. And it doesn’t change the fact that the conservative noise machine is way more effective than anything liberals have. Even if congressional Democrats had tried to make an issue out of reconciliation in 2003, they probably wouldn’t have gotten much traction.

Still, you have to try. Republicans figure they can get some attention for this kind of nonsense if they yell loud enough, and they’re right. Democrats don’t even think of it.

I wouldn’t really say I think Kevin is wrong in this analysis, I just think he’s got it backwards. The reconcilliation process is part of the law governing the process of passing budget related legislation in the Congress, and it’s a perfectly legitimate tool for Congressional majorities to use when it’s allowable. There simply wasn’t any reason for Democrats to complain about Republicans using reconcilliation, because there was nothing wrong with that. One thing I think we really have learned beyond any shadow of a doubt from the past two weeks is that, as a whole, the Republican Party really is nothing but a collection of pure hacks at the moment. Republican Senators are well aware of how reconcilliation has been used in the past, what reconcilliation bills they’ve voted for, and that this is a rather mundane procedural move given the landscape. And yet they’re pretty much united in painting the process as controversial and illegitimate. It’s just shameless. Another problem, the one that Foser nails down, is that our elite media institutions and major “journalists” are just completely clueless. Not only do they not have the nerve to resist whatever meme it is the right-wing noise machine is peddling on any given day, they don’t even seem to have the inclination to try to do even a little legwork to learn about Congress, its rules, or even recent legislative history. I haven’t heard any Republicans who are complaining about reconcilliation be asked about the tactics House GOP leaders used to get Medicare Part D passed.