First a note about the surprise addition of votes in Wisconsin that apparently is going to give Prosser a victory:
I don’t buy it. It’s just a little too convenient that a Republican activist County Clerk in a Republican stronghold found enough votes to put the conservative incumbent (who she’s worked for) over the top by a margin that does not entitle the challenger to a recount. Could she have made an error? Sure, but we know from the examples of Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000 and Ken Blackwell in Ohio in 2004 that Republicans have a history of using election officials to steal elections. The overall situation needs to be independently investigated and those votes need to undergo the strictest scrutiny before they are allowed to be added to the tally. Kloppenburg needs to lawyer up and get ready for a fight.
Yesterday I ended my post in agreement with the Tea Party. Okay, that’s going a bit far. I ended my post by saying that the liberal victory in Wisconsin’s de facto referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s GOP/Tea Party/Billionaire puppet masters-backed attack on public employee unions and the middle class was a signal that buyer’s remorse is setting in after the 2010 GOP electoral victories and that he and the Democrats in Congress should stand their ground against the draconian budget cuts being put forward by Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader (and civics lesson failure) Cantor and the lunatic fringe of Congressional Republicans known as the Tea Party Caucus even if it means a government shutdown.
Why would I advocate a government shutdown? I don’t, not for the sake of a shutdown. Here’s how I see it. Voters don’t want the cuts that the Republicans are proposing. People recognize that the programs on the chopping block meet legitimate needs. We need unemployment benefits to keep people in the economy. We need environmental protection and food inspections. Low income families need rent subsidies and food stamps. The deficit is important, but people eating and having access to healthcare and food and education is more important. The public is with the Democrats on this.
Given that fact, Obama and the Democrats have a choice. If they bargain these programs away, the shutdown is avoided, but at the cost of very beneficial programs. It would hurt people. It would hurt the economy. It would demoralize the Democratic base, compounding the problem of bad policy with bad politics.
If the Dems stand firm, one of two things will happen. Option one is that the Republicans blink. The programs are saved. The base is preserved and the thrall in which the right wing Tea Party caucus holds Speaker Boehner is broken. When that happens, we can get back to the business of divided government, which is compromise in governing. The policies coming out of such circumstances are not my ideal platform, but they would be reasonable. The second option is that the government gets shut down. The Republicans, who campaigned on shutting down the government, would try to blame the Democrats, but everyone knows better. People would see the many things that government does that they take for granted. These services would be missed, and there would be some damage to the economy. Pressure would come to bear on the Republicans to give in and at the end of the day, the programs would survive and the Democrats would be emboldened to fight the good fight on other issues. That’s the benefit of standing and fighting.