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February 10, 2009

Comments

Your comments about the application of the pivot point analysis to the stimulus legislation makes a lot of sense. It's worth parsing a few of your statements, however, to discern an unstated assumption and perhaps to map you on the left-right continuum, as Keith Poole did for the Senate.

You state, "Obama should move policy as far to the left until the filibuster pivot is just barely willing to accept it." That is true if one believes that Obama wishes to govern from the left. It appears that is your belief; it's mine too. But your statement wouldn't be true if Obama's goal was to govern from the center, not to "move policy as far to the left" as possible.

In your penultimate sentence, you refer to what Obama "thinks is good policy." I'd simply note that we know what he says he believes is good policy, but we don't really know his mind. I'm prepared to take him at his word, but we should recognize that in doing so we're deviating from the strict Nyhanesque standard about knowing what people are thinking.

In your final sentence, you editorialize about taking "priority over policy in a crisis of this magnitude." That's your opinion and you're entitled to it; it's also the position of Congressional Democrats and the Administration. Some of us further right on the left-right continuum feel that the "crisis" is being used as a pretext for enacting many items that have little to do with economic stimulus without adherence to normal Congressional mechanisms for legislation.

That is true if one believes that Obama wishes to govern from the left.

No, it's true if Obama is to the left of the pivot point, which he undoubtedly is.

In fact, since the pivot point is at the 59th most liberal Senator (aka the 41st most conservative Senator), this strategy requires him to govern from the "center-right", not the left.

How does one know who the "most liberal Republicans" are? Presumably, they are selected as the Republicans who have most often voted with the Dems on a list of issues deemed to separate liberals from conservatives.

So, the prediction that came true amounts to saying that the Reps who voted with the Dems on the "stimulus" bill are the same ones who have most often voted with the Dems in the past. Not terribly surprising...

How does one know who the "most liberal Republicans" are? Presumably, they are selected as the Republicans who have most often voted with the Dems on a list of issues deemed to separate liberals from conservatives.

In fact, since the pivot point is at the 59th most liberal Senator (aka the 41st most conservative Senator), this strategy requires him to govern from the "center-right", not the left.

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