To me it seems obvious that having the 111th Congress press hard to get big things done was the right call, even if it contributed to electoral defeat. This is especially true because as I said yesterday you need to do the analysis at the margin. Losing 65 House seats is way worse than losing zero House seats. But dropping the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t have saved 65 House seats. Maybe it would have saved 15. But that’s not nearly as big a deal. The reason you try to win elections is it gives you the chance to pass important laws, so saying you want to avoid passing laws in order to slightly reduce your midterm losses seems silly.
Yglesias goes on to quote conservative writer Ross Douthat:
Politics often gets covered as though the legislative sessions are just a long prelude to the real action of election season. But for all the breathless horse-race coverage, elections only matter to the extent that they produce (or forestall) actual legislation. And where the policies of the United States government are concerned, all the ground the Republicans regained tonight doesn’t change the fact that what liberals achieved in Barack Obama’s first two years in office was more consequential than any conservative victories in recent memory.
So, the point of being in Congress and holding majorities in Congress is to actually get good legislation that helps people passed. The point of being in Congress and holding majorities in Congress is not to just keep being in Congress and holding majorities in Congress the next time. Hopefully the no-guts, no brains assclowns muttering about Nancy Pelosi will figure that out.