An open letter to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their crew, from yours truly:
Congratulations. You just took control of Congress for the next two years. It must feel great. You should celebrate now, because pretty soon you're going to realize it's going to be an agonizingly long two years—as long as Democrats follow these three simple pieces of advice:
- Now that Republicans control the Senate and the House, they need to supply the votes for everything—no more bailouts from the Democratic caucus, bailouts that made sense when Democrats controlled one of the chambers.
- The president should wield the veto liberally, vetoing every measure to come from Congress that would undermine things like Obamacare or damage the government's ability to deliver the services the country expects from it—and congressional Democrats should support his vetoes.
- The president should take executive action wherever he can, within the constraints of the law, to accomplish goals like creating a humane immigration policy and dealing with climate change. If the Republicans don't like it, they can impeach him.
Again, congratulations guys. You've achieved the goal that Mitch McConnell set out for you, and you did it by systematically trying to prevent Democrats from implementing progressive policies. Just keep in mind that turnabout is fair play, and if Democrats are smart, that's exactly what's going to happen.
I'm not trying to sugarcoat the GOP's win. It does suck, especially for nominations. And it sucks that we're not going to get any new progressive laws passed, though it's not like we would have gotten any with a Republican House. But—at the risk of repeating myself—the president is still the president is still the president is still the president. Obamacare isn't going anywhere. He can still take executive action to get a limited amount of things done. And just about the only two things Republicans can do without the president's signature is shutting down the government and impeaching him. And unless the GOP magically reinvents itself into a rational governing party, that's exactly what Democrats should let them do. 2016 will be here soon enough.