Republicans will howl about reconciliation as an abuse of process, but that's only because it will foil their own Satanic plans. They'll claim that reconciliation was never intended for something like health care reform, as if they've never applied the rules creatively themselves. And when it comes to abuse, they've abused the filibuster relentlessly, applying it in record numbers to even uncontroversial mid-level appointments. If reconciliation is abuse -- and I don't see how it can be when the bill has already passed the Senate with 60 votes -- well, it's past time to fight fire with fire.
Republicans will also claim that the health care bill is "too big" to not be returned to the Senate, where they will not give it the up or down vote that they held so sacred back when George Bush attempted to change the nature of American jurisprudence by appointing right-wing judges to every court vacancy. If that deserved an up or down vote, than so does health care reform. But since the Republicans will use Senate rules (and, as I said, it's fine and dandy when they abuse the rules) to prevent a majority vote, Democrats have little choice but to turn to reconciliation. Besides, as Paul Krugman points out here, the Bush tax cuts went through reconciliation and they were twice the cost of the health care bill...
This is a terrible, tragic story. Pathetically, it will engender more foolish noisemaking like this, from someone who wants to turn our schools into armed camps:
An article in The Times seems to imply that Sen. Pam Roach made an outrageous statement by saying that there would be fewer school shootings if teachers were allowed to carry concealed weapons [“State Sen. Pam Roach is anything but boring,” page one. Feb. 21].
But Pam is right! She deserves much credit for clear, honest reasoning. Think back to the Columbine teacher who was killed while trying to shield students with his own body. The outcome of that encounter would most likely have been much different had he been armed and therefore able to stop the shooters quickly, before they had a chance to kill so many helpless kids.
We all know — or should know — that criminals don’t care if they break the law and that they will bring firearms into schools any time they want to do so. On the other hand, reputable people obey the law. We therefore leave our children completely unprotected when we ban firearms in schools. They and their teachers are victims-in-waiting — no matter how fast the police arrive. Arm our teachers — those who have the courage and willingness to protect the children in their care.
Just walkin' in the rain, so alone and blue...
OK, the Allman Brothers Band: