A Common Political Tale

Here is the scenario: after a long period of contention, there is an agreed upon piece of legislation. There is then an election which ought to be relatively minor but is fought on the issue and goes against the agreed upon policy. A party, whose policy it essentially was, fragments and votes against the agreed upon policy dooming it and themselves to electoral suicide.

Turns out that that has happened twice in the last three months. The first time was in Australia with the CPRS. The second was just yesterday and perhaps over the next week with health care reform in the US. In each case, there looked like agreement but an election (the Liberal leadership and the MA Senate race) essentially convinced those supporting the policy to not support it. That is enough Liberals voted for Turnbull that the CPRS should have passed and in the US, all the House of Representative Democrats have to do is vote for the policy and it will be done. However, they are so spooked or something that they don’t want to do that.

In each case, it indicates the poor values of many politicians and also the failure of inspirational leadership to affirm those values. In Australia, leadership didn’t work. In the US, I am still hopeful but everyone around me is depressed. We will just have to wait and see. But what is certainly true, having one minor election scuttle a key reform is hardly an affirmation of working democracy.

4 thoughts on “A Common Political Tale”

  1. That’s a bit of a stretch. It’s not just the elections in either of these cases, it was a community backlash. The elections are of course a manifestation of that backlash.
    And what do you mean by leadership? We live in a democracy, our politicians should respond to the changing views of the electorate. Of course, they at times should go against the popular will, but when they do so it is hard and difficult. As it should be. If it was easy, the result would be tyranny.
    The Dems should be thankful that they have received this message in a one-off special election. They have time to get things right before November. That doesn’t mean no health reform but they do need to change their approach. The backroom way in which they have tried to get it up has been ugly. Can you imagine the dems’ response if the republicans had taken a similar approach with social security reform?

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  2. Where was the community backlash on the CPRS?

    It didn’t get up because of what happened in a Senate election in 2004.

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  3. Matt C appears to be stretching it a bit too. The US senate is hardly democratic with a supermajority now appearing to  be necessary to pass any legislation. The fact is that there could be reconciliation of the house and senate bills, and with a simple majority it would pass both houses.

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