Skip to comments.RECONCILIATION OR NUCLEAR OPTION?
Posted on 02/26/2010 5:36:16 AM PST by nathanbedford
RECONCILIATION OR NUCLEAR OPTION?
In the wake of yesterday's summit on health care reform one must ask, what were the Democrats up to and did they accomplish what they set out to do? Let's peel away some onion layers:
The Democrats profess to have arranged the conference so that leading members of the House and Senate could reason together that bipartisanship might bloom and a compromise on health care reform might be achieved as the participants grasp hands and sing kumbaya as they dance around the anointed one. Nobody on Free Republic believes that anything remotely so noble could possibly animate the calculations of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
The summit was arranged by the Democrats to provide Obama with a forum in which he would demonstrate as he did in the Maryland summit with the house his mastery of the subject and his dominance as the Alpha male over the benighted Republicans. The demonstration would reveal for the whole country that the Republicans were the party of no and public support for their position, or more precisely, public opposition to the health-care reform bills would diminish. If that objective were the purpose of the meeting, the Democrats did not achieve their goal. If anything the Republicans demonstrated their mastery of the subject and the Democrats looked ill informed and ill at ease. But I do not think that was exactly the motivation for the summit.
I believe the Democrats are looking down the road and there are two or three factions who see the path ahead from different perspectives. The president knows that he is not up for reelection until 2012 and, anyway, as a radical ideologue he is certainly as concerned with fashioning a legacy as he is with an election three years away. The Democrats from safe districts (assuming after Massachusetts that there are such districts), especially those in the house like Nancy Pelosi who are in leadership and who enjoy relative immunity from the generalized irritation of the voters, see the fate of the health-care bill to be a judgment on their leadership and so they are for passage of some bill at virtually any cost, or at least at any cost to other more vulnerable Democrats such as the Blue Dogs. There are the black Democrat Congressman who are immune from election losses and whose constituencies will support virtually any strong-arm methods the Democrats choose to use. Finally there are the vulnerable Democrats, the Dogs Blue and many senators who a few months ago had reason to believe that their seats would be secure in 2010.
Only the last group has much to fear from strong-arming healthcare through Congress by way of nuclear option. In fact, in the majority of these categories of Democrats will be reelected so long as their base comes out. Hence, from their perspective they have more to fear from passive failure to enact health care insurance reform then they do from the indignant reaction of moderate and independent middle America whom they understand from the polls is generally opposed to the legislation. Of course, that means that there is a real and no doubt growing rift within the Democratic Party as the interests of those in vulnerable seats become clearly more and more endangered by those in safer seats. But, as we shall see later, maybe not.
As Obama, Pelosi and the African-American Democrats size up the situation, they are impelled toward a cram-down by way of "reconciliation." They fear only the reaction from their base for want of ardor on their part.
So the drama moves toward a nuclear option showdown. In this context, the summit can be seen as a softening up barrage to prepare the battlefield for reconciliation. Confronted with reconciliation, the Republicans can either raise hell and hope to gain ground in the next election, hoping that sometime between now and five years when the reconciliation bill must expire without healthcare having kicked in, they can prevent its extension. Alternatively, the Republicans can aggressively counterattack by filing virtually an infinite number of amendments and delay the vote indefinitely. They could have each amendment read word by word etc.
Once the Republicans do that they have effectively shut down the government. It is not even a generation ago that we ran through this scenario when Gingrich and the House Republicans dragged a very reluctant Bob Dole and his go- along to get- along Republican Senatorial colleagues, to White House sessions to negotiate for a balanced budget. More than Monica Lewinsky resulted. The Republicans lost that public-relations battle.
It might well be that the Democrats know why Republicans lost that battle, the press went to war against Gingrich and the Republicans. Republican solidarity cracked in the wake of sob stories about sleigh ride drivers in Yellowstone being out of work. The Democrats might well now be calculating that the press will so disparage the Republicans as "the party of no" that they could even turn around their electoral chances in November, just as occurred after Monica delivered her pizzas.
So the summit as conducted by the leading Democrats who are impelled toward a cram down could be seen as a reconnaissance in force to probe Republican solidarity and test public reaction in the wake of the conference. I think public reaction will have less of an impact on their strategy than we might think and for the reasons expressed above. If the Democrats were testing the media, they must be on balance disappointed with the reaction in the establishment press. But that does not mean they cannot enlist the media in a crusade against the Republicans who can be painted as shutting down the government without which they believe no man can exist.
For their part, Republicans must realistically assess their resolution to carry on to the end. We saw how Olympia Snowe flirted with the enemy. We know that Graham will seek to gain center stage by triangulating against the Republicans. Scott Brown is an unknown quantity, especially after his vote on the jobs bill. It would be fatal to start to shut down the government if the center does not hold. If Republicans buckle halfway through, the entire dynamic could change before November 2010. Clearly, shutting down the Senate with amendments is a tactic which should not be started if only to be abandoned. Either Obama or the Republicans will emerge from such a battle, but not both. The Nuclear Option is our equivalent of regicide and we all know what happens to those who try to kill the King and fail. The press will probably be against the Republicans. Most of the Democrats have nothing to lose. Many of the Democrats who do have something to lose are looking for a game changer. Chaos is certainly a game changer. Republicans must be certain that resolve on their side is greater than the resolve on the Democrat side.
The Democrats have every incentive to drag the country into chaos. Barack Obama personally, as a radical redistributionist and a Manchurian Marxist who was a disciple of Saul Alinsky, might very well actually welcome such chaos. Under these circumstances reconciliation could easily become a "nuclear option." That is not to say that Republicans ought not to fight the matter with every weapon and with every amendment at their disposal. It is only to say that they should heed the advice of General James Longstreet on the eve of Pickett's charge and not go into battle with only one boot on.
To paraphrase Shakespeare:
If it were done when 'tis done, then t'were well it were done resolutely.
Its actually neither - its Wreckconciliation.
I actually think enough people are aware of what the Communists are up to. The shut down of Government can no longer be spun the way it was in the 90’s. In fact it might even be popular. The Socialist media outlets are no linger trusted.
I’ve been looking with no luck so far into wreckconciliation details describing the different “types”. This was alluded to in a Mark Levin broadcast earlier this week. If I interpret him correctly (only half awake, from a late-night audio replay), some wreckconciliation scenarios are constitutional, such as judiciary nominations, and others are “extra”-constitutional such as this “health” bill.
There is one important factor that was revealed during the ‘summit meeting’ yesterday: Obama and the Dimocrats admitted many times that Medicare is fiscally unsustainable and in need of ‘reform’. That is significant, and I haven’t heard anyone comment on it yet.
Put that in perspective. If a private sector company or industry makes a really bad mistake, Congress hauls in the CEOs, COOs, and CFOs to a series of hearings. Congressman and Senators declare that they must have these hearings to determine what happened that caused the mistake so it never happens again. Or some variation on that theme.
But here we have a dramatic confession from the President and Members of Congress and the Senate that the Medicare bill passed in 1965 was deeply flawed, in that it could never sustain the demands on it when the Baby Boomers begin to reach 65 years old.
So, the federal government made a serious error when it engineered Medicare, and what does Congress do? Do they look back to try to figure out what went wrong, as they do when a corporation screws up? Nooooooooo!
They compound the error by tr54ying to create a reformed health care system that makes the same unsustainable errors as Medicare, only on a larger scale.
Well done, guys. You’re real brainiacs. With logic skills like this, you would never be considered qualified to run an actual corporation. Unless the corporation wanted to be run into the ground.
Clearly, the Supreme Court is not going to intervene in a co-equal branch to sort out the sentence rulemaking procedures; it will find that to be radioactive and declare it to be a political question, a nonjusticiable question, not subject to their review.
So we have only the court of public opinion to which to appeal Joe Biden's ruling as president of the Senate. If he rules the whole bill to be available for reconciliation rather than just the parts clearly associated with taxing and appropriations, the Republicans are left with no option but using the amendment process to shut down the Senate.
I do not share the view posted so far on this thread that this will be an easy sell in a public-relations sense for the Republicans. When Social Security checks don't go out or other functions of government begin to break down, many many conservatives find they have a liberal core.
Shut them down! The Republicans are doing a pretty good job of delaying the Communist front. We will launch the counter attack in November and take them out.
The House is the only way this train is stopped. One the leftist are not happy, the centrist are up for relection in months. The lost 4 yes votes. Cao, Wexler, Murtha and Abe.rombie
...I do not share the view posted so far on this thread that this will be an easy sell in a public-relations sense for the Republicans. When Social Security checks don't go out or other functions of government begin to break down, many many conservatives find they have a liberal core...
That is a very good point.
That, in my mind is the counter to such comments on other threads that "there are more of us than there are of them."
Realistically, when talking about "us" (we the people) vs "them" (the controllers in power) the issue of sustainability (having a warm place to sleep, keeping the lights on, and having food to eat, etc.) is, to my mind at least, the main point to consider when speaking of the ultimate contest of people vs an out-of-control power abusing government..
I have two sets of boots by the front door and the Winchester loaded....... my fellow Americans, take no prisoners. If I must I will lay my blood before you like my forefathers...
There are very good soundbites out of the summit, and I have seen at least some positive coverage of the Republicans in the mainstream press.
I have no doubt of the applicaability of your analogy between the govt shutdown in 1995 and the current political situation. It would be very easy for the White House and the enemedia to make war on Republican naysayers; if the republicans break under this pressure, then what seemed like surefire gains in November could evaporate.
Right now, the one absolutely critical piece is to pick off Dem support in the House. Neither the Senate Dems nor the House Dems want to go first with this; the question is can they hold together longer than can the Republicans (including Graham and McCain as people eager to make a deal)
That being said, it is in the Senate where the Dems need to do the dirty work of "reconciliation", and that is where the damning soundbites of Reid, Schumer, et al need to be repeated and repeated and repeated.
IMHO, our best hope for victory is to portray the Dems as beholden to special interests, unwilling to listen to the will of the people, and rankly partisan and hypocritical in their parliamentary maneuvers. In short, putting ideology ahead of the Peoples' business.