Tuesday, June 21, 2005

So-called Obstructionism

The mantra of the right lately has been that the Democrats are nothing but obstructionists, and that they have no ideals of their own. Democrats exist, say Republicans, only to try to make life difficult for Republicans (and on a side note, let the 24 links up there that I found in 10 minutes be my not-too-subtle comment on the disgusting homogeneity of the blogosphere).

Am I the only one who doesn't buy this nonsense? To say something like, "They can only criticize our plan when they've brought one to the table" is ignorant and dangerous in itself. It's awfully close to (and only superficially different from) saying, "Any idea is better than no idea." And that's just a nice way of saying, "A bad idea is better than no idea." In other words, "Moving backwards is better than not moving at all."

Nonsense, all of it.

If you believe an idea is bad, then there's nothing wrong with opposing it. You don't have to offer up a countering idea to show that the proposal is bad in comparison. Replacing Social Security with a less-secure system of private accounts is a bad idea no matter what. Letting up the pressure on the privatizers to cave to Republican pressure and "bring something to the table" would be stupid and counterproductive.

Republicans are running scared on a lot of their issues, because they're running up against more roadblocks than they should for a party that controls all branches of government, and which claims to have had the mandate of the American people. But when a minority party is doing all it can to temper the majority's desire to fundamentally alter a lot of our time-honored social structures, that's not obstructionism. That's defense. That's survival.

Not all change is good change, and sometimes being "progressive" means standing still when your opponents pursue negative progress.