Readers were divided on whether Senate Democrats would pay a political price for failing to pass a budget for three years. Sold2u wrote glumly: “No, the mainstream media will cover for them.” Others like codexjust1 argued: “Continuing resolutions guarantee a level of spending sufficient for the United States to function and survive. Passing a budget in the Senate would mean an eventual compromise with the draconian House budgets.” Cdprotocol thinks every incumbent will be tarred but not punished: “I highly doubt it. Though potentially distressing, I think dysfunction as a whole will be a problem for all Senate (and House) incumbents up for reelection.” And Timmy84 had this take:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was right when she said that the people don’t care much about process. To the extent that people are even aware of the budget futility in the Senate, I find it unlikely that they would attach blame to their specific Democratic senator. This particular failing is much more readily attributed only to the leadership (Harry Reid and President Obama). Now, that’s not to say the budget failure can’t have an impact. If the narrative becomes well known enough that “Senate Democrats” have somehow failed in their responsibilities, the narrative of failure can tarnish candidates down the line by association and cause some problems for on-the-line incumbents.
However, others like Jafco think that the failure to pass a budget is setting Democrats up “like 2010 all over again.” Blackwell 575 contends:“It should become a problem because it indicates that Democrats in the senate are not serious about debt and deficit. The fact that for the past three years they have made no effort to prioritize spending and reduce spending, and come to grips with our escalating debt should be factored into the voting mentality of middle-class voters.
On this one, DMar2 said it best:
The fact that the Senate Democrats have not passed a budget could be an effective attack on vulnerable Democrats, but only if their opponents (and especially Romney who will very likely be at the head of the Republican ticket) can weave it into a larger narrative about the Democratic Senate and President Obama. Otherwise it will be seen as a relatively arcane Washington chatter. Look for politically savvy Republicans running for Senate seats to use this fact as a part of a larger narrative of a Washington that is broken and afraid to solve the big issues of our time.
Indeed, for every Republican on the ballot that is good advice. It’s critical not simply to say what the president and Senate have not done but to point out what impact that has had on the recovery and how failure to address our fiscal problems become more difficult to address the longer we wait.