Up Or Down Vote For Health Care Reform

So sayeth the WaPo's Steven Pearlstein:

[A]t the risk of sounding naive, I'd like to offer a novel idea for changing the legislative dynamic, restoring majority rule to the legislative process and keeping health reform alive: Debate it on the Senate floor. That's right, forget about spending another six weeks searching for those elusive 60 votes to break a filibuster, going back and forth with weak-kneed centrists like Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu who can't seem to decide what they really want, or self-righteous egotists like Joe Lieberman, who thinks he can call all the shots. If they have suggestions for improving the bill, let them do it the old-fashioned way: propose an amendment on the floor and see if they can get 49 other senators to agree.

To get things started, it will be necessary to put Vice President Biden in his rightful constitutional place as presiding officer, where he should make clear he'll do whatever is necessary to restore majority rule to the Senate, even as he jealously protects the rights of the minority to blabber on as long as it wants and offer whatever amendments it thinks necessary. And if that means overturning some outmoded precedent laid down by some dead predecessor, so be it.

Apparently, not all of the Village is enamored of the shenanigans of Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, Evan Bayh, etc.

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    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Steve M on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 10:53:22 AM EST
    I assume it is obvious that he is advocating for the nuclear option here.

    You could absolutely do that (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 12:06:22 PM EST
    The majority in the Senate is only frustrated because it allows itself to be.

    A nuclear option cuts both ways ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by nyrias on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 02:21:35 PM EST
    If it is used, don't cry when next time a future republican majority rams through something you really hate.



    The only principled reason to (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 02:30:41 PM EST
    support the filibuster IMO is that the Senate has a natural rural gerrymander.

    And that's why ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by FreakyBeaky on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 03:36:13 PM EST
    ... the Democracy Option (I refuse to use that N word) does not go far enough.  We must nuke the Senate.

    I fully agree (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 03:44:15 PM EST
    Sadly, that's a much harder task than just about anything imaginable. Rescinding the Hyde amendment would be easier.

    +100 (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lambert on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 11:33:55 AM EST
    Then Bernie Sanders can kick off his 2012 Presidential run with an old-fashioned, "go to the mattresses-style filibuster for S703.

    'If majority rule is good enough to give tax (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by steviez314 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 11:40:57 AM EST
    breaks to rich people, it's good enough to give health care to everyone.'

    Any Democrat who can't run on that is a moron.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure there aren't 10 Democratic senators who aren't.

    Great idea (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 11:42:12 AM EST
    Majorit rule. What a novel concept. As polarized as the political situation is today, I can't see how anything can be accomplished waiting on the mythical 60. It's no wonder the public thinks Congress is worthless.

    I just hope that the Democrat's don't listen to Bill Clinton and accept anything rather than nothing.

    But meanwhile... (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 02:05:00 PM EST
    Tom Carper's at it again:

    Carper is now crafting a top-secret new "Plan B," according to the CongressDaily. Just how bad is Carper's Plan B?  Well, from what is being reported, it could be his worst idea so far.


    What Carper did was take the two worst aspects of the two most worthless ideas (a trigger and zero government oversight), and combine them into one super-awful proposal. The entity created is not national, would not be large enough to negotiate low rates, would not be available on day one, and would not answer to Congress. Carper has created a "trigger for co-ops" proposal in an attempt to get 60 votes, but, not only would the idea do nothing to help control costs, but it needlessly weakens two worthless ideas Snowe already supports.

    Ah, but here's the real kicker:

    The Democratic aide said staffers have tried to keep Carper's alternative quiet due to concerns that publicity could draw attacks from liberal activists, which could complicate efforts to line up support from the full Democratic caucus.

    Because, God knows we can't have the little liberal activists actually getting involved or having something to say about this proposal, could we?

    What's really just enough to send one screaming into the streets is that, since we know there are no Republicans who are going to vote for any Democratic plan, this is one more attempt to fashion something to get Democrats on board.

    Sure, reconciliation would be the way to go (ideally for a bill that is actually good, and not this thing that is starting to resemble a mangled piece of roadkill), but the so-called progressives have been anaphylactically allergic to hanging on to their principles or formulating an actual strategy for success.

    Up or down vote?  Reconciliation?  I'm pretty much hoping this doesn't happen, because I think people are losing sight of just how cr@ptasic a piece of legislation they could end up passing.

    Maybe the Village is just bored with (none / 0) (#5)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 11:43:25 AM EST
    the whole shenanigans thing, and figures the up-or-down vote would make Republican heads explode, and create real drama between the parties, as opposed to the same-old, same-old Dems-in-disarray stuff that's going on now.  

    Pearlstein (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 12:57:22 PM EST
    may live and work in the village, but he's never been part of it.  I love the guy, but he in no way reflects village wisdom, or leads it.  Sometimes he agrees with, more often he doesn't.  He's an independent thinker and an unfortunately, but by definition therefore, outlier.

    Fair enough. (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 01:09:02 PM EST
    But I think the real card-carrying members of the Village aren't the least bit interested in the policy that is at the heart of all of this, just the politics and the drama.  Who's up, who's down, are the Dems in disarray, what does this mean for mid-terms - but not a whole lot of interest in, will this actually reform the CARE system, or will it be a boon for the insurance industry and be of minimal help to actual people.

    Heck the CCMV haven't cared enough about the policy to even minimally and honestly inform the American public on the finer points - and even some of the broader points - of this months-long effort on health care (or is it health insurance?  I think it's insurance, not care).

    There's nothing wrong with Pearlstein's suggestion, per se, but if it's going to happen, it would be ever so much nicer if it wasn't used to pass what looks to me to be truly substandard health CARE reform.

    I am definitely not in the "anything is better than nothing" crowd.  But you already knew that.  :-)


    Agreed on all points (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 02:59:49 PM EST
    I just wanted to make sure folks were aware that Pearlstein is just Pearlstein, and his column doesn't, alas, represent any kind of shift in the Village mindset.

    and why should they care anne? (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by cpinva on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 04:16:44 PM EST
    they all have wonderful health insurance, and are wealthy enough to cover what it doesn't. and they certainly could not care any less about the "little people".

    Why should they ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by nyrias on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:03:13 PM EST
    Beyond the need to get votes and advance their career?

    This is not unlike we all talk about caring about the less fortunate people in the third world. But when push come to shove, most of us won't do a thing.

    Lip service is a lot cheaper than actions.


    So what do we do (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 07:50:11 PM EST
    We all eventually come to terms. I think that we do what we can. At times, I appear to be the giving-it-up-compromiser. We all decide at some point where we can be. I want expanded health care; and, yes, I am willing to compromise...more than some others here. Former President Clinton encapsulates my feelings entirely. To make it real & there, I started life in the appalachia area. While I have been very lucky, I do remember the smell of coal dust, etc. Not to whine, not to feel sorry for myself. Far from it. What I want to see first and foremost is the extension of at least some healthcare to those who don't have it now and to those who are afraid of losing it, to those who are so afraid that they lose sleep over it. Yep. I admire all those who push unrelentingly for what we must eventually realize; yet, for me now, I do not want the advance that we can realize today to slip from our hands. It is just a different opinion.

    Now, we have disagreed (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Cream City on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:12:14 PM EST
    but this comment is more clarifying, considering from where you come -- and it is more clear now that you do not easily compromise but have done so for reasons that are deserving of respect.  (I love the loveliness of the Appalachians but, with family in the coal-mining areas of West Virginia, and coming from miners a few generations back myself, I know a bit of what you have seen. . . .)

    I still disagree on the compromises made, but we can hope that those will be changed, too, so that you and I and so many others can take care of others in need while not giving up too much of what we deem that we need, too.


    Thank you Cream City (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:44:36 PM EST
    Your comment is quite meaningful to me. I appreciate it very much. (An aside: The Appalachians and the Alleghenies are indeed beautiful...never leave you. You have West Virginia & "almost heaven" as the song goes; and, I have the hills of Pennsylvania.)

    I don't think .. . (none / 0) (#20)
    by nyrias on Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 09:33:53 AM EST
    compromises are necessarily bad.

    The realistic situation is that there are voters, and hence Senators who do not support HCR. Waving some principles and taking the high road, and ultimately getting nothing done .. is not constructive at all.

    You cannot realistically expect people (like the insurance company) roll over and accept less that what they have now without fighting.

    Sob stories can move people to tears, but it does not always move people to open their check books. Personally, I think some compromise, with some incremental improvement, is the only way to go. You move too much, people are bound to be scared and you really can't blame them. That is human nature.