Deem and Pass Revisited

| Tue Mar. 16, 2010 1:05 PM EDT

I've been mulling over the "deem and pass" strategy a bit more since I wrote about it earlier this morning, and I think it's worth saying again what a bad idea this is. Not because it's unconstitutional or unprecedented, but just because the political optics are so horrible. Here's my best crack at a graphic demonstration. First, take a look at a likely Republican attack ad this fall:

Cue ominous music. Liberal Joe Smith voted for a bloated, big-government takeover of healthcare that spends trillions, balloons the national debt, and puts a federal bureaucrat between you and your doctor [etc.]

And here's the version if the bill moves through the House via deem and pass:

Cue ominous music. Liberal Joe Smith voted for a bloated, big-government takeover of healthcare that spends trillions, balloons the national debt, and puts a federal bureaucrat between you and your doctor....Cue even more ominous music....and then he tried to pull the wool over your eyes by pretending he didn't really vote for it at all. Joe Smith: not just a big-spending liberal, a contemptible, sneaky [add other words from the Newt Gingrich lexicon here] big-spending liberal.

I know that House Democrats aren't much interested in sniping like this from the peanut gallery, but they really need to man up on healthcare. Memories are short, and deem-and-pass probably won't matter a lot by November. But it will matter a bit, and that bit will be entirely negative. Best to bite the bullet and cast your vote proudly.