The topsy-turvey world of modern politics

As part of a longer rumination about the stability that the Cold War provided for our political system, James Taranto makes the following observations about yesterday’s House vote:

Why did it happen? Last November voters sent what seemed to us a pretty clear message by rejecting Democratic candidates for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, both states Obama carried a year earlier. It didn’t seem so clear to the Democrats in Washington, who were able to argue that in the one contested race for Congress, in upstate New York, a Democrat (assisted by a GOP circular firing squad) picked up a previously Republican seat. The House’s initial ObamaCare vote took place the following weekend.

But if November’s results left room for ambiguity, January’s did not. Scott Brown campaigned for a Senate seat in Massachusetts–Massachusetts!–by promising to be the 41st vote against ObamaCare. He won in a state that had not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. The voters sent a clear message: that the Democrats were going too far, jeopardizing their power.

Obama and Pelsoi, it now seems clear, took the opposite message: Our power is in jeopardy, so we’d better use it before it’s too late. A dispatch from the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti illustrates the topsy-turvy results:

The initial blush of President Barack Obama’s health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality–he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.

Voters may not buy it.

Gee, ya think, Liz? Normally, politicians sell their programs to the public before enacting them into law. Representative democracy is premised on the consent of the governed, not the idea that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

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