Juche

JUCHE….With Nazi references now in ill repute thanks to Dick Durbin’s inflammatory suggestion that we should aspire to treat prisoners better than Hitler did, Ronald Brownstein turns to North Korea today for his political metaphors:

The essence of the modern Republican governing strategy is self-reliance. The goal is to resolve all issues in a manner that solidifies their political coalition. The means is to pass legislation primarily by unifying Republicans, thus shrinking opportunities for Democrats to exert influence. This approach represents the political equivalent to what the North Korean government calls Juche: a strategy of maximizing independence by minimizing dependence on outside forces.

Excellent. They aren’t going to like that analogy, are they?

What’s curious about Brownstein’s column is that he dances around ? but never quite gets to ? the Republican strategy that’s really the best evidence for his Juche metaphor: the fact that the Republican leadership often tries to actively minimize the number of Democratic votes their bills get. It’s more than simply not caring about Democratic votes. If a bill is in danger of getting bipartisan support, they’ll often lard it up with superfluous junk ? random union bashing is a favorite ? specifically designed to force Democrats to vote against it. Why? Because it promotes Republican solidarity, solidifies Democrats’ reputation as obstructionists, keeps votes close so that their supporters remain in a constant checkbook-ready state of panic, and convinces business interests that Democrats hate them. Cases in point include the Homeland Security bill, the Medicare bill, and CAFTA.

It’s a pretty good strategy, actually. But how much longer can it last? I’ll take bets in comments.

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