The great cause of the new Republican intake is the reduction of the deficit but to anyone seeking evidence of sincere attempts at deficit-reduction the evidence is baffling. The Republicans showed before Christmas that they would seek to reduce the deficit but not when it came to a matter of the tax breaks that had aggravated the deficit in the first place.Now there's a date set for the abolition of Barack Obama's healthcare plan, parts of which only came into operation at the start of this month. The Republicans are out to destroy the plan. Or, more precisely, to pretend to destroy the plan in the name of making good on election pledges. The measure won't get past the Senate.But suppose it did get past the Senate, what effect would this have on the deficit? The answer is it would aggravate the deficit. Somehow, somewhere, there's an override mechanism that makes destroying Obamacare more important than destroying the deficit. If only one could figure out how it works.
It's almost hard to imagine anything more undemocratic than the view that political officials should not debate American wars in public, but only express concerns 'privately with the administration.' That's just a small sliver of Johnson's radicalism: replacing Feingold in the Senate with Ron Johnson would be a civil liberties travesty analogous to the economic travesty from, say, replacing Bernie Sanders with Lloyd Blankfein.
If Feingold does it, if he wins this race in this year, it will not be as just another Democratic senator. It will not be as a maverick, nor even as an idealist. It will be as a signal that maybe, just maybe, people power can still beat the money power. That senators aren't just extensions of parties and presidents, and that politics can be about something more than Democratic toothpaste versus Republican toothpaste.