Franken is unimportant

There has been a lot of talk about Al Franken giving the Democrats a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. This will not allow Democrats to push through a liberal agenda. The reason is that the Democratic party is no longer even remotely liberal.

What we’ve seen happen over the past decade is the polarization of the Republican party. They keep moving right. They’ve thought they were moving the country right. But what they’ve actually been doing is leaving people behind with no party. I don’t think this is the same thing as the traditional “swing-voter”. These are people who might be anti-union and pro-business, but feel that a reasonable level of taxation is required to keep the government providing the sorts of infrastructure that business needs to run efficiently. They might be very traditionally conservative, but had a falling out with the party because they’ve had an abortion. Or a gay son or daughter.

So in effect the Republican party is made up of people who are either

  1. Batshit-insane
  2. Unable to quit the party. Probably because they are small-‘c’ conservative and change doesn’t come easily to them

So basically the Democrats may have a majority, but it’s just a majority made up of the non batshit-insane. Which means that we’ll continue to see these extremely moderate bills that one might expect to see when there’s a very balanced congress, rather than this one where one party has a clear majority.

I’d still love to see a truly liberal majority in Congress. But this isn’t it. And that’s probably ok. The center needs to get drug back a little closer to center, so we can start talking reasonably again.

The one thing that makes me optimistic is that the Democrats in Congress are doing a really good job of compromising. It’s really a reflection on the American public at large, that once you cut out the crazy right there’s a lot of good discussion and compromise going on about the role of organized labor, business taxes, and healthcare.

So let’s just ignore the crazies and they’ll go away (or get put in prison for blowing things up or shooting people). Eventually the Democrats will probably have to split into two parties, and that’s for the best.