Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mitch McConnell...wants Health Care pass?!?!? (He typed, dazed and confused) was that again??

This is from Laurence O'Donnell, regularly of MSNBC, formerly of the West Wing, and a regular guest blogger on Huffington Post. (Fine! Fine! I'm not a fan of Huffington Post, but I like Laurence, thus...)
Let's remember, even though Laurence has gone Hollywood and all (writing West Wing, acting in Big Love), he was Chief of Staff to the Senate Finance Committee for a bunch of years. So understanding the intricacies of the Senate is definitely in his purview.

So, Laurence's opinion on Senate matters is always valued. At least, it is by me.

Thus, these two paragraphs really got my attention:

In Washington, where everyone is desperate to know what's happening behind closed doors, all you have to do to keep something secret is do it out in the open, preferably on C-Span. Mitch McConnell did exactly that when he entered a unanimous consent agreement with Harry Reid about how to proceed on the health care bill. McConnell knew that agreement was going to make it impossible for Republicans to amend the bill and would put it on a fast track toward passage.

McConnell accepted an agreement brilliantly designed by Reid that required 60 votes to pass an amendment. McConnell did that without anyone noticing anything odd after a year of saturation coverage of the importance of 60 votes in the Senate. Everyone outside the Senate now thinks it takes 60 votes to do anything. Not amendments. Amendments pass by a simple majority, 51 votes. Amendments are usually debated for a couple of minutes or hours or days, then voted on. Once in a while, a 60-vote cloture motion is needed to end debate on an amendment. What McConnell agreed to was an implicit cloture motion in every vote on every amendment, thereby completely surrendering the minority's real power. In all my years in the Senate, I never saw a leader make such a mistake. If it was a mistake.

Reid's motivation was simple. Getting this agreement with McConnell made it so that Reid's version of Senate HCR was going to be the final Senate version of HCR. There would be no surprises from anyone...(including unfortunately a good Prescription Drugs Amendment by the retiring Byron Dorgan...but Sen. Dorgan said on the Randi Rhodes show he can get that passed anyway.)

Oh, this was a pretty important graph as well:

And now the strategy becomes clear: Repeal it! That is the Republican Party battle cry for the 2010 election. Repealing Obamacare is going to be the centerpiece of their campaign to take back the House and Senate. But how can you repeal it if they don't pass it. Hence, Mitch McConnell's enabling.



Just...gathering myself here...

If the 2010 strategy is to run on a repeal of Health Care Reform, this may go down as one of the dumbest excercises in political history.

Why? Right now, whether I'd like to admit or not (and I really don't) the President is reeling a bit. I don't think he's in any danger of losing re-elect in 2012, but could we see a major, major cut into the Democratic majority in 2010? Most certainly. In fact, history tells us that's exactly what's going to happen...

But if the GOP runs on a total repeal of Health Care. I'm sorry, but that's tone deaf to the point of being insulting to people who are tone deaf.

Last I checked (and this is an area where I disagree with Laurence), the Unions were onboard with the Excise Tax now. They got it delayed enough to where they're still willing to run turnout for Democrats.

While we of the Liberal creed have certainly had our arguments over HCR (Health Care Reform) -- I only do this because I note I have a follower...who's not Dad or Heidi. Yay! -- even if the Senate Version of the bill were to pass as is, no one from the Democratic side is gonna want to repeal the sucker.

Amend the living hell out of it, yes. Hell, even I'm for that. But repeal?

Sen. Mitch McChinless (Stephanie Miller reference) actually thinks that running on a platform in defense and support of Insurance Companies is a winner in 2010.

It may actually keep the Democratic Majorties right where they are.

Unless, that's the plan, to let the Democrats run wild for two more years, and get the people even sicker of them, then they'll--

Okay, my head's hurting. I'll stop.

But still, stoopid, STOOPID idea.