Friday, November 5, 2010

Winners and Losers in the Election

Saletan gets it:

"In the national exit poll, voters were split on health care. Unemployment is at nearly 10 percent. Democrats lost a lot of seats that were never really theirs, and those who voted against the bill lost at a higher rate than did those who voted for it. But if health care did cost the party its majority, so what? The bill was more important than the election.

I realize that sounds crazy. We've become so obsessed with who wins or loses in politics that we've forgotten what the winning and losing are about. Partisans fixate on punishing their enemies in the next campaign.

Reporters, in the name of objectivity, refuse to judge anything but the Election Day score card. Politicians rationalize their self-preservation by imagining themselves as dynasty builders. They think this is the big picture.

They're wrong. The big picture isn't about winning or keeping power. It's about using it."

I wish the health care bill were better, frankly. (Single-payer or a public option, I think, would be both better policy and better politics.) But on the other hand, you don't govern so you can keep governing. You govern to get stuff done. Dems got stuff done, and if it means they lose out on power for a couple of years, that'll have to be the case. From that standpoint, I wouldn't change anything.

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