Remind Me What Reconciliation Is For Again?
So let me get this straight: Obama wants the Senate to take the drastic measure of ramming a sidecar through reconciliation, fanning a colossal GOP hissy firestorm about the cheaty system-gaming Democrat Party thwarting the will of the American people who gave the obstructionists their 41-seat supermajority, all so that he can… fiddle around the edges and increase the individual mandate penalty?
Wow. Way to think big, Mr. President. And way to use a legislative bazooka to shoot policy mosquitoes. It’s simply not worth it to push the Republicans into maximum-outrage mode for minimal tweaks that won’t make the bill more popular or make Democratic seats more safe.
And that’s the key. Most Americans like the public option and hate the Senate bill because it doesn’t have the public option. The obvious solution to this electoral-disaster-in-the-making was to use the reconciliation sidecar to restore the popular public option and eliminate the unpopular excise tax, but according to the Obama administration Congressional Democrats want to get wiped out in November.
Watching this process unfold is like watching the original Senate bill all over again: Golden opportunity for popular dramatic change to fix what is broken; popular dramatic change gets watered down to unpopular weak incremental tea; Obama and his apologists insist that we have to drink the weak tea because it’s better than nothing; American people become disgusted and vote for Republicans.
I love Glenn Greenwald’s re-enactment, but I have one of my own where Obama is driving his family along the road to Grandma’s:
Daughter: Are we there yet? Why are you driving so slowly, Dad?
Dad: I don’t want to get a flat tire. If we get a flat tire, we’ll never make it to Grandma’s, and you all really want to see Grandma, right?
Tire: [Goes flat]
Dad: Dammit! I guess we’ll just have to press on with three tires and hope the fourth one grows back.
Mom: Honey, why not just use the spare tire in the trunk?
Dad: [Opens trunk] We’re saved! I can use the tools in here to fashion a replacement tire out of tree bark and garbage! You’re a genius!
Son: But… what about the spare, Dad? It’s right there and it’s in perfect shape. I’d be happy to help you with it; I really want to see Grandma.
Dad: No no, that would never work – I’m only interested in practical solutions, not wild-eyed immature fantasies. Now give me some help here, unless you want a good paddling. [Spends eight hours kludging together the world’s most half-assed tire out of tree bark and roadside debris] Now that is how it’s done. I rule!
Entire Family: [Is killed when Dad runs head-on into a semi]
Yes, I know Obama has made his disdain for the public option abundantly clear. I’m just amazed that he thinks he can find enough congressional Democrats with an electoral deathwish to implement his junk-tire strategy, and that he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that it will lead to catastrophe.