Douche Offers Strawman Strawmington Argument For Why Corrupt Senate GOP Should Stay In Power
Matt Lewis is one of those “reasonable" conservatives who only seems reasonable because he writes for the Daily Beast and probably knows the right fork to use with his salad. He's already admitted that he's not voting for Joe Biden — even against Donald Trump, who's killing us all — because Biden supports abortion rights. Lewis voted for Biden in the Virginia primary on Super Tuesday, when presumably he was aware that Biden believed women were people. If abortion was a dealbreaker for him, why did Lewis meddle in our primary? He should've left us alone to nominate a baby-killing socialist or even — gasp! — a woman if that's what we wanted.
Lewis dropped another load today in the The Daily Beast where he warned against the existential threat of Democrats having actual power for 15 minutes. He painted a somewhat realistic scenario where progressives are annoyed that Senate Republicans, now in the minority, are filibustering Democratic bills and even Biden's bathroom breaks, so the new majority will eliminate the filibuster and make Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez queen.
Barack Obama was right when he described the filibuster as a Jim Crow relic that Republicans have long abused to block legislation that a majority of Americans support. Does a Senate supermajority (60 votes) reflect the will of the people any more than a simple majority (51 votes)? It's not like you need an Electoral College supermajority to win the presidency. Hillary Clinton didn't get a veto for Trump administration hires. But that's all academic and beside the point that Lewis is trying to make. He's arguing that his Republican Senate buddies should keep the seats they've disgraced as a “check" against Democratic tyranny. He invokes the filibuster, which Senate Republicans demolished already when confirming Supreme Court justices so they could stack the courts with rightwing law school interns. The only problem with his police work here is there's no indication that the filibuster is going away aside from what Obama said at John Lewis's homecoming. And that Joe Biden is for getting rid of it now. And also that we really really need to because those scumbags are preposterous.
Senators Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Doug Jones, Jon Tester, and Angus King have gone on record with their opposition to removing the legislative filibuster. Even in a Biden wipeout, it's gonna take some heavy lifting just to win the majority. Democrats aren't going to have enough seats to kill the filibuster when there are already holdouts. This is a strawman divorced from reality and living in its parents' basement.
But Lewis wants to scold Democrats for even considering playing by the same rules as Republicans.
If you're a progressive, this all sounds great. By adopting any means necessary to advance your goals, you believe you are defeating Trumpism. I see it differently. I would see such a move as embracing Trumpism—or, at least, a form of it. That's because Trumpism is also about advancing authoritarian tendencies, prioritizing your base over the nation, and violating norms and institutions to consolidate power. That's not a "return to normalcy," and it's certainly not change we can believe in.
Advancing your political agenda isn't “embracing Trumpism." It's politics. People don't elect Democrats to go sit in fancy offices and have Republicans eat their lunch. We actually expect them to pass legislation that we believe will improve the country, even if conservatives like Lewis disagree. Elections do in fact have consequences, as those of us trapped in a perpetual state of torment over the past four years would tell you. If Democrats control all branches of government, they might do something crazy and implement policies Democrats like. Someone fetch the fainting couch for Mr. Lewis.
It's not as if Democrats don't want to work with Republicans. God knows Obama tried. King claimed the 60-vote threshold required “some level of consensus and some level of compromise.' During the Obama administration, this meant Democrats saying, “We ran on reforming health care. We won on reforming health care. We'd like to reform health care. Here are a bunch of ideas conservatives have literally supported in the past. We'll drop the public option you hate." The Republican response was “fuck you."
Democrats might romanticize the filibuster as a tool for compromise but Republicans use it to ignore that Democratic presidents are ever elected.
Lewis also talks about progressive “frustration" over lack of movement on wish list items such as the Green New Deal, police reform, and gun control. He conveniently ignores that Trump has set the country, if not the entire free world, on fire. Biden and the Democrats' primary agenda in 2021 will be stomping out the flames and trying to salvage the economy while protecting public health. There's no reason to believe Republicans would act in good faith toward that objective. They don't want consensus. They want Biden and Democrats to fail so they can reclaim power. That's not cynicism. That's recognizing the pattern whenever Lucy offers to let Charlie Brown kick a football. The Republican Senate is wholly corrupt and doesn't deserve to remain in power on any level.
It seems like Lewis doesn't comprehend what's rotten at the core of Trumpism and the modern GOP in general, but maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. He might just be lying.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."