Political Animal


April 11, 2013 10:22 AM Eyes on Prizes

By Ed Kilgore

Sorry to do a second Debbie Downer post this morning, but aside from the pitfalls that await gun and immigration legislation in the House even if they escape the Senate, it’s important at this juncture to remember that the most important policy developments this year will involve GOP efforts to unravel Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, no matter what happens to Obama’s “second-term agenda.” As Paul Glastris put it in his Editor’s Note for the March-April issue of the Washington Monthly:

[T]he most consequential drama of 2013 will not be the battle over Obama’s second-term agenda. It will be the struggle to implement his first-term achievements—which, truth be told, dwarf anything he is likely to get out of Congress going forward. Obamacare, the Rooseveltian capstone of his presidency, will, if it can be made to work, deliver health care to twenty-seven million uninsured Americans and begin the task of reining in health care cost growth. Dodd-Frank, for all its many flaws, is a massive, complex rewriting of regulation for the entire financial sector, the success or failure of which could determine whether or not we go through another financial meltdown.

In case you missed Phillip Longman’s article on the poison pills originally embedded in Obamacare (aside from the struggle of some Republican governors and legislators to obstruct implementation of the bill at the state level), or Haley Sweetland Edwards’ much-praised examination of the intense campaign to gut Dodd-Frank, now’s the time to read them. Progress in any area is welcome, but looking at the bigger picture is essential as an antidote to the happy talk emanating from Washington about a “thaw” in hardened partisan attitudes.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on April 11, 2013 10:57 AM:

    Maybe it's just me, but what I fail to see, is how President Obama coming out in favor of Chained CPI, helps him, helps keep his progressive legislation in place for the future, and/or helps his legacy?

    With the Republican Party like a winery conglomerate which is coming apart at the seams - where different varietal factions are infighting, and the grapes of wrath that are the base continue to die on the vine, it seems to me that the President just gave the Republican Party some Miracle-Gro and tons of fertilizer for them to spread, in order to pull themselves together, and keep the House, and maybe win the Senate, in 2014, and give the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2016 fits trying to explain this away.

    I understand that the 11th Dimensional Chess move here may have been to show how reasonable the President is, anticipating a blanket Republican rejection of his CPI admustment because of some increased taxes and elimination of loopholes, but he still did something NO OTHER Democratic President has ever done - come out, not for INCREASING SS, but DECREASING it!

    I sure as hell his fall back position is, "Ok, you rejected THAT offer.
    Here's my new offer:
    Since you Republicans are now SOOOOO worried about SS, how about raising the cap, or, at least create a donut-hole from, say, $120,000 a year to $300,000, and ALL investment income is taxed just like regular labor income, including FICA?
    You've just gone on record that doing nothing is unacceptable, and yet, when I offer to do the CPI, you opted to do nothing.
    And if THAT'S not good enough for you, here's my final offer:
    I offer you nothing.

  • SecularAnimist on April 11, 2013 11:43 AM:

    Ed Kilgore quoted Paul Glastris: "The most consequential drama of 2013 will not be the battle over Obama’s second-term agenda."

    The most consequential "drama" of 2013 will be the abject failure of either the Obama administration or the Congress to take the actions necessary to address global warming.

    And it won't be very dramatic, since it will chiefly consist of saying little and doing even less about the problem.

    It will, nonetheless, be by far the most consequential, since this failure will bring about the collapse of human civilization in our lifetimes.

  • bdop4 on April 11, 2013 1:07 PM:

    The issue really concerns how hard Democrats are willing to fight against these campaigns of emasculation. That this is happening should come as no surprise to any elected official and their efforts and ability to thwart these compaigns should be a litmus test for coming elections.

    Captcha: owners USAEffe. Indeed.