Monday, November 23, 2009

Poor analysis of Bennet healthcare stand from Beltway media....

I'll use Ezra Klein as an example. First, here's what Michael Bennet said to CNN over the weekend,

“If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you if you support the bill you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?”...

Bennet answered very simply: "Yes."

Ezra's analysis comes in a post titled "Sen. Michael Bennet is not a cynical careerist"

Bennet, it should be said, is a vulnerable senator. He's a moderate Democrat in a swing state who was appointed to his seat with no electoral skills or existing political base. But maybe that accounts for his clarity on this question. Bennet was formerly chief of staff to the mayor of Denver and then superintendent of the city's school system. He has never made the compromises that lead to reelection, nor learned the complex set of rationalizations that lead so many politicians to justify those compromises.

Where to begin?

First, I think that the title to Klein's post is grossly off the mark. Michael Bennet is facing a primary challenge and whatever you think of Andrew Romanoff's chances currently there's no surer way to piss of the Democratic base in Colorado than by failing on healthcare reform. Michael Bennet is certainly aware of this and while he has been consistent on the issue of healthcare it's hardly a sign of his not being a careerist. Quite the opposite really. A smart politician in a primary is going to make sure he is in line with his base on an issue such as healthcare. I'm not saying that Bennet made this statement purely out of cynical career concerns but his statement certainly isn't an example of a politician eschewing career concerns.

Second, Klein makes the all too common mistake of looking at a resume which includes high level political jobs but no elected office and concluding that Bennet is a political neophyte. The man was Chief of Staff to Mayor Hickenlooper, that's a position that clearly required Bennet to learn "the complex set of rationalizations that lead so many politicians to justify... compromises." He was also Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, which is about as political of a job as you will find in this state and obviously requires political compromises, justifications and rationalizations.

How Klein can look at this resume and not see that Bennet's experience is over-flowing with political experience is beyond me. Klein conflates electoral experience with political experience. As Bennet demonstrates you can have political experience without having electoral experience.

1 comment:

ThilllyWabbit said...

And he literally grew up in the Senate. His dad worked for various senators throughout his childhood before he went to run USAID for Jimmy Carter.