Conservative Health Care Freakout Begins
On Saturday, Jon Chait warned that a storm is coming:
[Conservatives'] mustache-twirling bonhomie has started to give way to the realization that the legislative door to health care reform is wide open, and Democrats simply need to walk through it. By no means is it clear that they'll succeed. But I've been waiting for conservatives, filled with hubris at having swept liberalism into the dustbin of history, to wake up to the fact that health care reform is very far from dead, and start to freak out....
You can imagine how this feels to conservatives. They've already run off the field, sprayed themselves with champagne and taunted the losing team's fans. And now the other team is saying the game is still on and they have a good chance to win. There may be nothing wrong at all with the process, but it's certainly going to feel like some kind of crime to the right-wing. The Democrats may not win, but I'm pretty sure they're going to try. The conservative freakout is going to be something to behold.
Chait is basically saying that health care reform is "The Play." Conservatives are the Stanford band, and health care reform supporters are the Cal Golden Bears. Behold:
Democrats aren't really any closer to finishing health care reform than they were on Friday, but I'm already starting to see some major freakouts. One example is an email from one of the conservative email lists I'm on, entitled "Obama Planning to Push Through Gov't Healthcare TODAY":
ALERT: Did you think that, because Barack Hussein Obama has called for a "bipartisan healthcare reform summit" on Feb. 25th, that the Democrats were serious about starting over and including the Republicans' ideas in their plans?
WRONG! According to liberal bastion The New York Times, "President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday."
But that’s not all they’re reporting:
Democratic officials said the president’s proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.
So, in other words, Obama is LYING about compromising on his healthcare plans, and Reid and Pelosi are preparing to use a parliamentary trick to ram ObamaCare down the throats of the American people!
Here's the "trick" that Obama, Pelosi and Reid are planning to use to ram ObamaCare through: it's called "reconciliation". As the Wall Street Journal explains, "House Democrats would pass a series of ‘fixes' to the Senate bill. The Senate would then pass the House reconciliation bill, sending amendments to President Obama to a bill that -- strictly speaking -- didn't exist, because it hadn't yet emerged from the House. The House would then retroactively pass the Senate bill as is."
So by using the "reconciliation" process, the Senate will only need 51 votes to pass their socialized healthcare bill!
Never mind that reconciling differences between House and Senate bills is what the reconciliation process is for. Never mind that it's been used repeatedly to pass major legislation—including crucial health care reforms like the State Childrens' Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and COBRA (the R stands for "reconciliation). Conservatives are convinced that passing legislation by majority vote is bad. (Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., thinks you should need 70 or 80 votes in the Senate to pass health care reform.) So they're freaking out about it.