Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elsewhere: Post-party, LBJ,

New Salon column: it turns out that of the ten low-numbered bills reserved for the party agenda, Republicans in the House have only used...one. They really aren't even trying to pretend they have an agenda, do they? And no, it's not a conservative/liberal thing: Republicans usually have no shortage of bills to highlight. It's this group.

Over at PP, I'm asking for please no more LBJ comparisons. One reason? There's a good chance that Johnson's overbearing arm-twisting backfired in the long run.

Yesterday, I argued that on immigration, the key players are House mainstream conservatives. John Boehner will ultimately do what they want. And yesterday at Greg's place, I noted that Republicans are still pushing the same old "cut spending, except on any program you name" talking points.


  1. You say in your LBJ piece...

    Johnson was extremely successful … with huge majorities in both chambers of Congress, and in the aftermath of a presidential assassination. He deserves credit for what he did, but the context highly favored action.

    Which is true. But surely much of Johnson's reputation for getting legislation passed stems from his time as Senator Majority Leader from 1955-1958, when he had razor-thin majorities and no assassination.

  2. Does anyone have a sense of how many bargaining chips LBJ might have accrued from his years of power in the Senate? I'm thinking in the legal sense of consideration, things he might have traded as POTUS for cooperation from a waffling legislator.

    I'm thinking he might have built up quite a pile of chips in his Senate power years, which may have been as influential as his bullying in getting Congress to row with him.

    Its not hard to imagine that, given his newness and outsideriness, Obama may not have all that much that either McConnell or Boehner really want. If indeed that's a material difference between LBJ and Obama (size of pile of bargaining chips), I'm not sure what the heck Obama can do about that.

  3. In the Salon article, you say the Republicans took over the House in 2009 instead of 2011.

    Regarding a bill to force the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, apart from everything else, it strikes me as an attempt to take credit for something Obama will eventually do anyhow.

  4. HR 1-10 is some evidence, but I think the overall tenor of the GOP is better evidence. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to make of April 18, 2005 marking only HR 3...isn't that the GOP not caring much about policy 8 years ago? And then only 4 in 2003 (at the comparable point in party control).

    Not disputing the underlying truth of the modern GOP. Just not loving this as a measure of it.

  5. A couple of month's ago, I was arguing much the same thing, except without the insightful phraseology. Republicans want the cuts, but also want to hide behind President Obama when the public finally notices.

    "...cut spending, except on any program you name" says it better.


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