Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just Do It

The time has come. Democrats have gone too far to turn back. Their Congressional leaders must choose from among two options obtain approval from the House for the Senate bill as it is, then return it to the Senate for approval via the reconciliation process. While I would like a reconciliation bill to include a robust public option (and have written both of my senators urging them to support this), long-time public option champion Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) believes that this is simply not realistic at this time. The West Virginia Democrat has been a reliable progressive for years, so his view merits more serious consideration than that of a hack like Ben Nelson ("D"-NE) or Holy Joe Lieberman (I for Idiot-CN).

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...

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:


Roy said...

Who in the world spewed all that nonsense about arming teachers, and where did you find it? That's among the most horrifying things I've ever read.

Re: Republicans ranting against health care reform... Yeah, and now that idiot Bunning from Kentucky has blocked the jobs bill in the Senate, which was going to extend COBRA health coverage for unemployed families, extend unemployment benefits again, and other things like rewarding businesses for hiring long-term unemployed. What kind of a mind thinks like that at a time like this?

K. said...

Bunning probably has Alzheimer's.

That was an actual letter to the editor in today's Seattle Times. What struck me was the assumption the letter writer made that she was correct and that her point brooked no debate from any serious person. It shows what we're up against, that's for sure.

K. said...

Bunning was one of the founders of the Major League Baseball Player's Association. He helped hire Marvin Miller. As a Hall of Fame pitcher who was underpaid for most of his career, he knows from his own experience how beneficial and important unions are. He hails from a state full of coal mines and yet he never met a worker he liked. You just can't figure some people.

Bill Clinton described Bunning as a know-nothing so mean-spirited that he repulsed even his fellow travelers. "I tried to work with him a couple times and he just sent shivers up my spine...I know you're a baseball fan and everything, and you don't like to hear it, but this guy is beyond the pale."

Bunning's bio in Wikipedia omits any mention of his role in founding the MLBPA, but does include the following anecdote about his recent role in blocking COBRA benefits:

"When Senator Jeff Merkley urged him to drop his objections to vote on a 30-day extension of benefits, Bunning responded 'tough shit.' In Bunning's closing comments to the senate floor he said Democrats were remiss in causing him to miss the Kentucky basketball game vs South Carolina.

What a guy.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Since you're so good and tagging them, we call him David Vitter R-Pamp
I know it isn't connected to your point, but I was having so much fun and just had to say it.

Renegade Eye said...

People didn't vote the Democrats in for bipartisanship. Obama's several attempts to get them to go along with any reform, makes him look weak.

He took universal healthcare out of the discussion, before he did anything else. Not even one meeting with UHC supporters.

Its amazing Republican neanderthal ideas, get discussed as much as they do. Whatever Obama did wrong, the GOP is not gaining from it.