There are two key indicators today in the brewing battle between the House and the administration over health care reform, and while they don’t represent any kind of change in position, they indicate progressives are holding their ground.
Earlier today, Greg Sargent reported that House progressives sent a letter to the White House stating that they will not support a bill lacking a so-called public option, and demanding a meeting with President Barack Obama.
Late this afternoon, TPM quotes a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying that a bill without the public option will not pass the House.
While progressives and the Speaker are reiterating already stated positions, it’s an encouraging sign that the right-wing clown shows (and one left wing finger-biter) have not changed the basic fact that there are more progressives than Blue Dogs, and there are far more Democrats than Republicans in the House.
So while the traditional media (and we bloggers) have duly watched, been outraged, been disgusted and been doubled over in laughter at different times by the circus, it’s worth noting that the House, the most representative body, is poised to actually represent the interests of all Americans, absurd lies about death panels, the 10th Amendment and so on notwithstanding.
Yes, nothing is perfect, but millions of Americans voted in November 2008, and the Democratic Party was handed the majority in Congress and the White House. Extremists who claim some special exemption from the results of elections, making up bizarre theories to suite their own purposes, need to be eyed with suspicion. If a health care plan finally emerges, there will be another set of elections only 14 months from now, and the people will get to vote again. That’s how it works. Elections have consequences, as the Bushites reminded us so frequently.
We are talking about figuring out a way to help our fellow citizens, people. Nobody from the government will show up at people’s houses unannounced to administer prostate exams, indoctrinate children or whatever other nonsensical (and excessively paranoid) claims have been made. Frankly, the fact the right wing puke funnel insists on regurgitating all manner of idiotic bullshit only shows how little love they have for real democracy. It’s all about democracy with them, until they lose a couple of elections, then they unleash the crazy in hopes of intimidating Democrats into backing down.
If people wish to object to certain ideas, like mandates, great. I have qualms about that myself. But the impotent rage of the right has contributed little of value, unless you’re the CEO of a private insurance company.
And then there’s the Senate. Ah, the Senate. There’s talk of using the relatively arcane reconciliation process to pass a bill without 60 votes, but it would smack of a parliamentary trick, which it would be. Not that righties will ever concede one inch no matter how legislation is passed, but they might be able to make the case to others that Democrats did something underhanded.
It’s become nearly conventional wisdom that one needs 60 votes to pass a bill, but this is because nobody ever calls anyone’s bluff on the filibuster. Frankly it is about time that somebody is actually forced to filibuster, it would be political theater on a grand stage.
Cable tee-vee news needs programming anyhow, and since trying to provide health insurance coverage to all Americans has now been portrayed by opponents as being like the Alamo, Pearl Harbor and Armageddon at once, it might be good for the American people to be exposed to the fine minds that would engage in a filibuster.
The obstructionism, obfuscation and dissembling that would be on display is hard to envision, but you can bet it would be both mighty in its rage and absurd in the extreme. For once Democrats need to dare the GOP to put itself on full and unfiltered display before the American people, and let folks compare the ideas of the two parties.