Score Politics? Wut?Yes, scoring politics. It's something we do unconsciously, but something we should start doing in a more analytical format. The best analogy here is football. When I say football, I mean US football: the NFL, etc. In football, a team gets points for touchdowns and field goals. For the last hundred years, the Blue Team has been kicking the shit out of the Red Team in this country. The score, which I can't be bothered to total, has to be at least 500 to 21 at this point. How am I scoring this? I'll explain.
First, let's posit that two teams exist. These two teams have different objectives. The small gov Red Team wants to maintain the traditional US governmental structure: aka small government. Blue Team are the progressives; they want more government to correct flaws that they think exist in the US. Now, for the purposes of this metaphor, let's agree that every time the Blue Team succeeds in creating a government agency, or expanding governmental power in some way, they succeed in scoring points. The creation of Social Security? That's a touchdown, for sure. Eliminating a few tax deductions for rich people? Eh, we'll count that as a field goal. Now, the Red Team will be scored for doing the opposite. Every time they succeed in reducing the scope of government power, they score some points.
Is your view of the scoreboard starting to come into focus? Ugly, isn't it? It's hard to remember the last time Red Team reduced government power. However, to be fair, there have been a few recent victories. The most recent one that we'll score as a touchdown was District of Columbia v. Heller. If you don't know what this SCOTUS decision meant for gun rights, let's just agree that it was a hugely important moment that strengthened the reality of the Second Amendment in the 21st century. Right to work laws passed by state legislatures are good too, but they're closer to field goals.
However, in the Obama era, Blue Team has done very well for itself. Obamacare, including the various SCOTUS decisions strengthening it, have dramatically increased governmental, specifically federal, power. Not to mention the usurpation of the power, traditionally held by the states, to define what constitutes a marriage. Also, while only scoring it as a field goal for now, the power of the FCC to interfere in the Internet, under the guise of "Net Neutrality," is going to prove devastating a few years hence.
"Well, of course Blue team did well, they had their guy in the Oval Office for eight years!" you protest. Very true. Let's look to see how well Blue Team did under Bush:
- The Patriot Act
- Creation of Medicare Part D
- The monstrosity that is the TSA at airports
- No Child Left Behind
Holy shit. What happened here? Well, it turns out that Red Team has a lot of players on the roster who might be described more accurately as Team Purple. The Red Team, when it takes office, has an embarrassing tendency to score on itself. Don't forget, Nixon created the EPA.
A lot of conservatives, especially of the Acela/Establishment variety, like to argue that voting for Republicans is still a Very Important Thing though, because they are able to obstruct the Blue agenda. The fact that R's obstruct the Blue Team is true enough. But more and more, I've started to notice that these obstructions are getting counted as victories. And that, right there, is the problem. Delaying the Blue agenda by voting it down, or obstructing it via procedure, cannot be counted as a victory. In football, you don't get points on the board for playing defense.
The Red Team killed a universal healthcare bill in 1993. Great. Good job, guys. A sack is huge. Knocking the enemy QB on his ass is important, and a big part of the game, but you do not get to put points on the board for a sack. It's important, and it delays the advance of the enemy team, but it doesn't give your side a lasting advantage. Because look at the current situation, Obamacare has now been passed and enshrined, and I think it's safe to say that universal healthcare in this country is under a decade away from being implemented, finally.
If the Red Team plays really good defense, maybe they stop a lot of drives and prevent new government programs from being created. However, if they never get their offense on to the field and score touchdowns, or at least some field goals, they can't put points on the board.
Republicans, and the Red Team in general, need to be evaluated differently. Currently, pundits like to point to obstruction as a win, but this needs to stop. Obstruction is good, but not enough. Red Team needs to start demanding the repeal of government programs as a basis for continued support. Is that going to happen? Probably not. This game is in the 4th quarter and time's about up. But what could have made a difference, and what will make a difference, in whatever regime ends up replacing the current structure, is not viewing a delay as a permanent win.