January 18, 2010

Go Ahead, Democrats

Justin Katz

Seal your doom:

The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders, scrambling for a backup plan to rescue their health care legislation if Republicans win the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday, are preparing to ask House Democrats to approve the Senate version of the bill, which would send the measure directly to President Obama for his signature.

The moment the Democrat leaders' request becomes official is the moment we find out just how little other elected Democrats understand what's happening around them. I'm not prone to confident predictions of the future, but it strikes me as entirely possible that passing the healthcare legislation now, in this way, out of fear of an undeniable declaration of public opposition to doing just that will result in many Democrats' losing their seats and then the next Congress (and perhaps next president) undoing the legislation anyway.

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Lose their seats?

Has it occurred to anyone that there are enough new agencies and boards created by the Obama-care legislation to assure any defeated Dem. Senator or Rep. a comfortable sanctuary in the bureaucracy?

If these bills pass, no Dem. politician will ever go hungry again . . .

Posted by: brassband at January 18, 2010 8:00 PM

Do Democrat legislators ever go hungry after-office, even now?

Here's where things get interesting: It is clear, by continuing doubts that the GOP is up to the challenge of leadership within the newly movement that awakened when Obama began implementing his agenda, that the Democrats would not be cashing in their chips for a mere partisan transfer of office, as they would have to be calculating to behave as you suggest. With their ever-escalating brazeness... first the clear lack of transparency, then the rush to pass healthcare legislation in the summer, then the weekend votes, then the vote on Christmas Eve, and now the rush to force the legislation through despite (indeed, because of) public disapproval) energizes folks like me, who wish to reconfigure the entire way we do government, quite beyond the generic GOP.

Yes, I'm indulging in some wishful thinking, but it's not so wishful, I don't believe, that the Democrats shouldn't at least consider the possibility.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 18, 2010 8:17 PM

There have also been several articles in the past week raising the possibility that the Democrats no longer care, because they have the electoral process rigged enough to slide anything past the people.

I used to think that was tinfoil-hat stuff, but it's becoming more credible by the day. Universal voter registration, anyone?

Posted by: BobN at January 18, 2010 10:40 PM

I still think Brown wins a close one because his peeps are more motivated to get out and vote.
Only displays of cockiness like this one can get Coakley's peeps out to vote.
God, you don't even have to take Congress or elect a president to get cocky anymore.

Posted by: rhody at January 18, 2010 11:44 PM

If the Senate Republicans win a seat in the Mass. election they will try to kill the unborn healthcare bill through filibuster.

from Wikipedia:
A filibuster, or "speaking or talking out a bill", is a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body whereby one attempts to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a proposal by extending a debate on that proposal.

The term filibuster was first used in 1851. It was derived from the Spanish filibustero meaning pirate or freebooter. This term had evolved from the French word flibustier, which itself evolved from the Dutch vrijbuiter (freebooter). This term was applied at the time to American adventurers, mostly from Southern states, who sought to overthrow the governments of Central American states, and was transferred to the users of the filibuster, seen as a tactic for pirating or hijacking debate.[1]

Senator Strom Thurmond (then D-SC, later R-SC)) set a record in 1957 by filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for 24 hours and 18 minutes,[21] although the bill ultimately passed. Thurmond broke the previous record of 22 hours and 26 minutes which Wayne Morse (I-OR) had established in 1953 protesting the Tidelands Oil legislation.

Posted by: Phil at January 19, 2010 6:21 AM

Gee Phil, you say that like it's a bad thing.

Is a filibuster ok when it is used to block judicial nominees, but not when it blocks the hijacking of the finest health-care industry in the world?

In the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, the Founders held all debates in the open and did not tie up the process with endless parliamentary maneuvering. Perhaps that is because they represented their states rather than their parties. Perhaps it was because they shared a common vision of America, having just paid so high a price to create it.

The processes of the Porkulus and Obamacare, in which the proponents attempted to rush everyone into approval in the same way that a hustler fast-talks a homeowner into a fraudulent driveway repaving, is an excellent illustration of the need for the filibuster.

Posted by: BobN at January 19, 2010 8:41 AM

Gee Phil, you say that like it's a bad thing

I didn't say it. (or write it) If you have a problem with Wikipedia take it up with them.

BobN wrote:
In the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, the Founders held all debates in the open and did not tie up the process with endless parliamentary maneuvering. Perhaps that is because they represented their states rather than their parties. Perhaps it was because they shared a common vision of America, having just paid so high a price to create it.

from Wikipedia:

In order to satisfy the southern slave holding states on the issue of determining population for representation in the National Government. The northern non-slave holding state didn't want slaves to count as a whole person, or the population in the south would be too much. The southern states wanted the slaves to be counted. The compromise was the 5 slaves would count as 3 people.

Posted by: Phil at January 19, 2010 12:02 PM

A little off topic Phil. Liberal Tactics 101: If you can't win an argument on the merits, change the topic or malign the opponent.

Posted by: MadMom at January 19, 2010 12:33 PM

Complain to BobN for the off topic comments to which I responded. It was that shared vision comment of his that needed answer. The history of our government and of the Senate rules is on topic. If you do not like facts have a tea party and invite Sarah Palin. (I hear she will appear for a price)

Posted by: Phil at January 19, 2010 12:52 PM

Is a filibuster a bad thing? In my mind, yes. The whole purpose of the representative government is to do what's best for the country, come to agreements and pass worthwhile and meaningful legislation when it is needed. All other things like filibusters and parliamentary tricks are just silly. Submit a bill, discuss it, amend it as needed and vote. Why can't it be that easy?

So to me, yes, filibustering by either party is bad.

Posted by: Patrick at January 19, 2010 1:51 PM

Phil, I think that you are the only participant here to whom my comment was not clear. Whether this is deliberate or unfortunate is not my problem.

Posted by: BobN at January 20, 2010 12:02 PM
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