dirty tricks

This is wrong, unethical – and somewhat boneheaded.  But enough about what I think about the Dems’  new (old) trick to pass the health care bill.

Let’s read what the Washington Post had to say about it (bold text my addition).

Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers “deem” the health-care bill to be passed.

The tactic — known as a “self-executing rule” or a “deem and pass” — has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure.

On something as big as an overhaul of the American health care system, the American people deserve better than backroom deals and “deem and pass” rules.   If the Democrats honestly believe that what they are doing is providing the best bill to fix the problems we have with coverage and cost, then they should be required to sign their names to it — or at least give the bill as it currently is constructed an up or down vote in the House.  If they don’t, then why put their fellow Democrats at risk of being voted out of office in 2010 by making them sign on to this bill?   It’s an unnecessary risk, but one I’m willing to watch them take heading toward the next election.

heading toward the cliff

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is willing to sacrifice the political futures of her fellow House Democrats in order to get the health care bill passed.  That’s generous of her, and the Republicans will absolutely accept that result.  I just wonder how many left-leaning true believers are left in the Democratic Congress.  The answer to that question will determine the future of this health care bill.   Sure, there are a few like Nancy Pelosi who would sacrifice the rest of their political life to get this country-changing reform passed.  But I’m willing to bet that at the core, most Washington politicos value self-preservation over ideology.  They have seen the writing on the wall with the recent Republican victories and are considering future votes more carefully than they would otherwise.

Most Democrats will choose their jobs over following the Speaker over the political cliff.  That’s my prediction.

Even though our side seems to be winning the argument on health care reform, there’s still no reason to be overconfident.   There is still work to be done, and when the current legislation goes down in flames, we need to be ready to take advantage of that failure with our own vision and solutions.