Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dems Were in "Full Bluff Mode" on Health Care

I rarely, if ever agree with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell but when he says health care is dead, I am somewhat inclined to believe him.
But since Election Night, he said, Democrats have moved into “full bluff mode.”

“We’re absolutely in full fake cheerleading mode. I think Nancy Pelosi has absolutely no moves left. I think she knows that now. I think Harry Reid knows that. And that’s why they don’t bring it up,” he said. “They had a Senate leadership press conference (Thursday) and it was as if (reporters) were asking about World War I” when they asked about reform.

O’Donnell attributes the theatrics to the need to deal with a liberal base that will go bonkers if Democrats quit on reform. And the cue cards are nothing new. He pointed to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer’s statements during the fall that the Senate would pass the public option even though “he’s smart enough to know they were never going to get it.”

“No one who went on television was free to say anything realistic,” he said.
O'Donnell goes on to point out how "lost" the current group in Congress appears to be compared to those he served with in 1994 when health care  reform first crashed and burned.  His argument that reconciliation is not an option is completely consistent with everything I have read on the right and a few who have passed through the denial stage on the left:
A reconciliation bill won’t work, O’Donnell said. When people talk about its 51-vote threshold they’re forgetting that is just the final vote. Every day the bill is on the floor it will face 60-vote procedural hurdles. For instance, should Republicans challenge a provision’s inclusion and get a favorable ruling from the parliamentarian, without 60 votes, Democrats will be unable to overturn it – leading to a bill that looks more like Swiss cheese than health reform.
Swiss cheese is an expression used repeatedly by Keith Hennessey which makes a photo used by Hennessey seem particularly appropriate for this post:

The generally quite moderate Megan McArdle doesn't see the Democrats being able to "git 'er done" either.

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