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The guy who tried to repeal Obamacare, which failed in the Senate only when John McCain dissented? With civility like this, who needs hostility?
The Republican handwringing is most comical over COVID-19 relief, which the Democrats want to pass, if necessary, with a bare majority through “reconciliation” (rather than seeking 60 votes, which would require opposition support.)
The Democrats warn the Republicans that they’re not going to allow them to negotiate endlessly, in bad faith, as they did over Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package in 2009 and affordable health care in 2010, then vote against it.
Governing narrowly in both houses, Democrats know the dangers if even one of them dissents. They want to advance a progressive agenda, quickly, and they distrust the Republicans. If this means abolishing the filibuster, they will.
But as Republicans bleat, whine and temporize, you have to admire their audacity. This winter they are at their most brazen, inaugurating their own society of hypocrisy.
This is the party that tolerates Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of QAnon, who wears a black mask crying “censored” as she addresses the House. The party that wants to punish Liz Cheney for supporting Trump’s impeachment.
The party that challenged the results of the election. The party that champions voter suppression. The party that talks moderation while demonizing Democrats as “Marxists,” “Communists” and “socialists” – see the Republican convention last August – and welcoming conspiracy theorists, nihilists and Satanists. The party that wants to forgive Trump after accepting his outrages, in the best tradition of Vichy collaboration.
No wonder my Republican friend is anxious these days.
Andrew Cohen is a journalist, professor at Carleton University, and author of Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours That Made History.
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