Tuesday, March 02, 2010

We're Going Plaid (Or the New Arrogant Power Grab)

So Obama is going to try to pass the Senate bill through the House and use reconciliation to "fix" it. I was planning on grabbing the clipshow of Democrats deriding the use of the "nuclear option," but I really think this clip is far more fitting:

Ok, so I'm putting the clipshow up, too:

Get your popcorn ready folks. I think I hear the Right Wing Attack Machine warming up.


patsbrother said...

Wow. Just wow. I'm glad they cleared that up.

Some thoughts:

(1) Didn't 7 Republicans ultimatley decline the nuclear option through the Gang of 14?

(2) What is Chuck Shumer talking about? I don't remember there being a filibuster clause of the Constitution. Perhaps I missed that day of Con Law.

(3) Harry Reid can't even read a speech well.

(4) To answer the question, what were the Framers thinking, why have a bicameral legislative body?: um, they considered Senators to be the representatives of the States themselves rather than representatives of the people within those states. We later changed that, but that's what the Framers were thinking. FYI.

Dante said...

Re: 1. We'll see how it actually plays out but as it looks now 7 > 0.

4. I'm glad someone remembers that. I'm not so sure we should've overturned the framers' intention just because it was getting a little hard to seat some Senators.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Uhhh. Wait, what? What does the nuclear option have to do with the Senate health care? Answer: nothing!

1. The "nuclear option" was made for television hyperbole regarding the filibuster rule as it is. That was a plan to get rid of the filibuster completely and change the rules of the Senate.

2. The current (planned) use of reconciliation concerns bills that have already passed the stage where filibuster is an option. This plan is to use the rules of the Senate to negate the power of the filibuster on one piece of legislation.

3. Didn't the GOP use this same tactic when they controlled the Senate?

4. This "plan" all hinges on the House passing the Senate's Health Care bill. That's a fairly big "if." As a matter of fact, you might call it the Mount Fing Everest of "ifs."

By which I mean to say, this ain't gonna happen.

Dante said...

Re: Pat

1. You're right. The nuclear option doesn't share much procedural similarity to what's going on now. Besides, that was going to be used to ram through some appointments most people didn't care about. The Democrats are going to use reconciliation to pass pieces of a woefully unpopular health care bill. The coherent arguments in the clipshow (mainly Obama, Clinton, and Dodd) still very much apply.

2. In a roundabout way, this is true. My favorite part about using reconciliation is the logic the White House is using:
"White House officials will make the argument these rules are perfectly appropriate because the procedure is not being used for the whole bill, just for some fixes; because reconciliation rules are traditionally used for deficit reduction and health care reform will reduce the deficit..."

Sorry, but that's not really the case. Yeah, if the CBO estimates are accurate (big huge honking "if"), the deficit will go down but only because we start paying into the health care system years before we get any benefits out of it. Even if this doesn't spiral out of control, there's no way we can sustain that deficit reduction unless we're planning on collecting money yearly and only handing out benefits once every few years.

3. Yeah, Republicans have stretched the definition of reconciliation, too, but they avoided that whole "woefully unpopular" business and passed things like tax cuts and COBRA along with the usual reconciliation stuff (by "usual", I mean unambiguously for the intended purpose).

4. The White House wouldn't trot this out there at this point if they didn't think something will happen. Either Pelosi is already on board or Obama is bluffing and has strong indications at least one or two of the Senate Republicans will cave and use this threat as a way to save face on caving.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

RE - 2: How exactly does the quote "the White House will" equate to the White House does?

Not that I expect any better explanation from the Administration (we all know how terrible Democrats are at explaining things), but every time a see a media quote that says some political misstep will happen, I cringe. I'd rather see the news reported not predicted.

RE - 3: The majority of the GOP's "woefully unpopular" or "morally problematic" baggage came from the Executive branch, anyway.

I mean, the whole "woefully unpopular" tag is fairly relative. If the bill hadn't recieved tremendous support, it would be dead already (and not in a "Pat predicts this bill won't pass" dead; but a "health care failed in June 2009" dead).

RE - 4: You'll pardon me if I don't put too many eggs in the basket of the White House accurately predicting the behavior of the Legislature at this point.

When this bill finally does fail, it will be because Pelosi and Reid are miserable legislators, and the White House put this ball in their hands.

This is a Hail Mary at the end of a game that could have been won months ago if the Dems running Congress had two ounces of sense.

And I say that as a nearly solid Democratic voter who desperately desires health care reform.

Dante said...

"RE - 2: How exactly does the quote "the White House will" equate to the White House does?"

The same way news reports accurately tell us what's in the State of the Union days before it's actually delivered.

"If the bill hadn't recieved tremendous support, it would be dead already (and not in a "Pat predicts this bill won't pass" dead; but a "health care failed in June 2009" dead)."

No, the idea has tremendous support. But like all things Obama, the more you define the change the less people are interested. The actual bill's popularity is abysmal. According to Gallup polling, passing the Senate bill and using reconciliation to fix it is polling at 39% in favor. A majority are opposed to that route at 52%. Hell, 25% of people who identify as Democrats oppose that tactic.

Passing anything similar to what the House and Senate have already put out there is only getting 42% support but at least most of America isn't completely against it at only 49% opposing.

This bill is unpopular enough that something is going to die. It may be the bill itself or it may be a political career or two, but something is going to end up dead by November because of the health care bill.