My First Draft colleague Cassandra had a piece this week about her Senator Manchin and how he and the Senate Dems played the Republicans to get the COVID bill passed by allowing the ludicrous charade of forcing a reading of the entire bill, then waiting till the Republicans had left the chamber while all the Demos stayed thus allowing Chuck “I’m Amy’s Cousin Not Her Uncle” Schumer to invoke cloture and move the bill, as well as Merrick Garland’s Attorney General nomination, to the floor for a vote.
In other words he used an old jujitsu move on them, allowing your opponent to be done in by their own innate nature.
And what is their innate nature? Very simply, conservatives are lazy. The inherent want of conservatism is for nothing to change because change requires work, sometimes hard work, to one degree or another. Conservatives want to take the easiest, simplest, path, the one that takes little if any work. The easy answer is always no. The hard is “let’s work to find a way”.
Think of any issue, political or social, and you will see this at, well, work.
Climate change. The easy thing is to say it doesn’t exist and let’s just go on doing what we’ve always done. The hard thing is to say it does exist and new strategies have to be put in place to retard it, strategies that will mean those contributing to the change will have to work hard and maybe even give up some power, money, or influence.
Social justice. The easy way is to say there is no racial divide and those protesting police brutality or pay inequality are only doing so because they want something for nothing. The hard way means working to confront your own fears, prejudices, and greed to make the world more equitable for all.
Gun Control. The easy way is to say second amendment trumps all. The hard way is to note that unlike the first amendment, the second does not contain the words “Congress shall make no law” and then work to make laws that take guns out of the hands of sociopaths while allowing honest, small genitaled…er…I mean law abiding citizens to have them.
The COVID pandemic. “It’s just the flu” versus “Quarantine, social distance, wear a mask, get the vaccine” Whew, that’s a lot of work.
Voting rights. The easy way to win elections is to make sure only your people vote. The hard way to win elections is to have actual programs and ideas that benefit the electorate, then work to convince people yours is the better way.
I bring this up because the passage of the COVID relief bill was by the thinnest of majorities in both the House and Senate. The liberal, Democratic, view of the bill was that people need help and this will help them. The conservative, Republican, view is, well, I can’t really tell what their opposition to the bill was. In their lazy fashion they mumbled something about it being bloated, crammed with liberal policies (without naming those policies) and instead decided to start railing against Dr. Seuss of all people rather than come up with a competing bill because that would have taken work.
What is astounding to me is they didn’t need to be doing this. They could have had a nominal group of no worries about re-election lawmakers cry about fiscal responsibility and vote no and have everyone else join the Dems in voting for a bill that had an astounding 87% of the American people wanting to see passed. Bipartisanship in the cause of helping the American people in a crisis.
But that would have meant doing the work necessary to explain why, after a decade or more of decrying bipartisanship, they suddenly felt it was important to work together even when they didn’t do any of the work involved in writing the bill. It also would have forced them to tacitly admit that the president* they had supported should have done the hard work of fighting the pandemic instead of pooh-poohing it and saying it would like magic disappear once the weather got warm. Who knows, had he done that he might have won the 2020 election instead of having to falsely claim he did.
Now 250 senators and congress people will have to explain to their constituents that the imperative of preventing the economy tanking, people being forced from their homes, children going hungry, or the task of getting the vaccine in the arms of everyone wasn’t as important as the easy culture wars slight of hand of railing against the Seuss estate deleting six books from their back catalog.
Now some of their members are taking credit for the bill’s passage. Senator Roger Wicker tweeted how much the bill will help small business. That’s like telling your constituents to stay strong during an unexpected snow storm while you ride off to Cancun. Oh yeah, one of theirs did that as well.
Taking credit for the work of others. Some call it cheating. Some call it plagiarism. I just call it being lazy.
And to think that I saw it on Capitol Hill.