Congressional Democrats killed Bill Clinton’s agenda, and Jimmy Carter’s agenda, and it looks like they’re gunning for Barack Obama’s, too, writes Jonathan Chait in the New Republic. George Bush didn’t win the popular vote and had just 50 GOP Senators, but was still able to enact a sweeping far-right agenda, thanks to “near-total partisan discipline”—something Democrats can’t seem to muster.
The problem? “The influence of business and the rich unites Republicans and splits Democrats.” Whereas Republicans knew that ramrodding through Bush’s pro-business agenda would keep campaign contributions flowing, Democrats find their wealthy backers’ interests at odds with Obama’s plans. So they decry sensible deficit-cutting moves, run straight into filibusters, and otherwise self-destruct. “Democrats have locked themselves into a self-fulfilling prophesy,” says Chait. They “can’t help themselves.”