Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Collins Playbook

--1. Embrace progressive priorities. (E.g. health care reform, pro-environment policies, campaign funding transparency.)

--2. When Republicans are in power, lament (quietly and infrequently) the paucity of opportunities to advance these progressive goals. Then vote the Republican position down the line, even when it moves the country in the opposite direction.

--3. When Democrats are in power and bills advancing these priorities take shape, nitpick, distort and obfuscate.

Explain that you still support the goal in theory, but complain about a minor provision of the bill that even competent reporters won't want to take the time to examine. Be sure to suggest that the provision hurts "small business."

Feel free to echo false conservative interest group-sponsored talking points and generally misrepresent the position of legislation proponents.

--4. If the legislation remains popular with Mainers at this point, drop the discussion of substance and critique the process. Impute bad faith to the bill's advocates and accuse them of being partisan.

Complain that they've failed to accommodate unspecified Republican concerns. Suggest that the lawmaking process has been too secretive. Or, conversely, that there hasn't been sufficient behind-the-scenes work on the bill for it to be ready for debate out in the open.

--5. If, after all this, the legislation is still popular in Maine, argue that now just isn't the right time to pass it. Outline other, more pressing concerns. Suggest that the issue needs to be studied more. Call for the process to start again from scratch. (If necessary, flee the country.)

--6. If the legislation seems likely to pass despite all these efforts, do your best to water it down and undercut it. Use the debate as an opportunity to advance conservative memes and to attack the president.

--7. Finally, when it comes time to vote, consider the following: How important do Republican colleagues, corporate allies and potential donors consider the defeat of the bill? Will voting for the bill result in enhanced Capitol Hill power and prestige? Weigh these competing factors and come to a decision.

(Don't worry about the views of Mainers. The state's media outlets will do their best to keep voters in the dark.)


Anonymous said...
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Contrapositive said...

Wide open debate? Absolutely. Name calling? Not here.