Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hang On To Health Care: Obama's Fall Offensive?

This from comments under Ezra Klein’s Enzi article at WashingtonPost.com (not my comment):

“The Senate Finance Committee should just pass the HELP bill on September 15th on a party line vote. ALL of their work has been worse than useless to this point. Somebody introduce Max Baucus to the concept of sunk costs. He's failed on the biggest stage he'll ever hold. It's better to just start getting over it rather than keep on making the FAIL bigger.”

This would be brilliant. And feasible. The Senate Finance Committee is the most powerful committee on the Hill. Everyone “knows” that all a bill requires is the president and the Senate Finance Committee for success. So everyone “knew” the bright lights would be on that committee. That’s the committee with the “gang of six” from the no-population states where 2 of the 3 Republicans including the ranking member (Grassley & Enzi) have said they’re against any reforms at all now - after negotiating supposedly in good faith into the recess. Really?! That’s what Gibbs was reacting to. Plus now the fundraising letter from Grassley stating he has always opposed reform and calling it “Obamacare.”

This is all today.

Somehow, and this would have been stunningly brilliant strategy if Kennedy was doing this all along, they might have planned to put these stooges at a table and shine the light on them while the other 2 Senate Committees crafting a bill (HELP is one, which Kennedy chaired and Dodd has been assisting, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions) do their work under less scrutiny. The non Finance committees are the ones with the Senators like Dodd, Kennedy, Boxer - you know, from states with PEOPLE…

(Make no mistake, real reforms will prove as popular as the New Deal once they start going in place - it could be the REPUBLICAN’S Waterloo - THEY could lose their party for a decade, and they know it.)

Then, as the Finance Committee implodes as they have done, the commenter is suggesting that by simple majority (on the committee) the Senate Finance Committee should vote to throw out their version and instead adopt the HELP Committee version as their own, and vote that straight out of committee to the floor. (This would mean the same bill comes out of two committees.)

Sure the filibuster is still there, but who in the public is going to be able to follow that jujitsu before it even hits the floor. It would have almost no impact on the public debate but would get the best bill onto the floor. Hell right now the public doesn’t even know there are multiple versions of a bill in the Senate plus the House versions. So it would be a way to throw out the trash of Baucus’s committee (Finance) and put forth the strongest bill possible in terms of reform, then push it through with a 51+ vote majority while exposing Republicans to all moderates and Dems as clear crazy obstructionists (who haven’t put a single idea on the table and are openly “out to get the president”). We saw a flash of this tactic from The White House today in Gibbs’ conference (if I’m describing their tactic).

This could be the great hope in the end. I have to believe that Obama has had plenty of time to campaign on this and plan this, and I have to believe he knows he simply cannot fail and he must get a big win here - and as he’s shown before, it’s only the end result that really matters (as with November 2008). These are really really great signs we’re seeing today. The “offensive” may be under way. I also received an email from a progressive group about to do a big national ad buy to support the Public Option.

Hang on. These ain’t the Clintons we’re dealing with. I hope.