Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is weighing a plan to bring the final health care bill to the floor without a public option — making it much easier to get the 60 votes needed to prevent a Republican filibuster — and then adding the provision later as an amendment.
The public option amendment would be there waiting, but the 60-vote test would technically be on a bill without the government plan. Then moderate Democrats could drop out for the vote on the public option, which requires just 51 votes for passage.
“It’s brilliant,” said a top Senate Republican aide. “It gets you your votes on cloture for a package that does not include a public option.”
Yeah, brilliant. I think the Democrats are seriously underestimating the growing public backlash over healthcare reform; a trick such as this will just make things worse.
ITEM: Speaking of backlash, the Anchoress has a thoughtful and spot-on analysis of the arrogance that seems to be driving the Obama Administration (and, I might add, the Democratic leadership in Congress):
The American mind is a duality of sorts. A country founded by displaced nobles and built by the strongest and most resourceful commoners from around the globe, America’s can-do attitude is one that doesn’t mind looking out for the little guy, as long as his own share is a fair one, and his options are open. The American mind is constantly dreaming; even her most newly-arrived immigrants dream, because until very recently all dreams were pronounced “welcome,” and the greatest restrictions were the ones you put upon yourself, or allowed others to put upon you. The dreaming made us exceptional; the dreams made us indispensable.
But does Obama understand those dreams? If he does not, then in truth he does not understand the people he undertook to govern. He appears to have decided that “governing” could be accomplished with an endless campaign, meant to entertain a nation enthralled with hucksterism and side-shows; that notion betrays, in meaningful measure, a disdain for the people who placed their trust in him, with their vote.
You really need to read the whole thing.
ITEM: Meanwhile, the Onion assures us that under Obamacare, seniors would have a right to choose how they are killed:
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama held a nationally televised address Tuesday to “clarify any misunderstandings” about his health care proposal, assuring Americans that under the new bill senior citizens—and not the federal government—will have the right to choose how they are executed.
“Let me dispel these ridiculous rumors once and for all and set the record straight: Under my plan, seniors are going to be killed the way they want to be killed, end of story,” said the president, who acknowledged that “wiping out” the nation’s elderly population has always been his No. 1 priority. “If your grandmother would rather be euthanized in the privacy of her own home than be gutted and hanged on a high school soccer field, she is entitled to that right.”
“Once again, let me be perfectly clear,” Obama continued. “Seniors, rest easy knowing that I will never, under any circumstance, sign a bill that doesn’t give you the option of being murdered by my administration in a manner of your choosing. I promise you that.”
ITEM: Because of Obama’s refusal to see the Dalai Lama, human rights groups are now questioning his commitment to, well, human rights:
Human rights groups are beginning to question President Obama’s commitment to their issue as the administration engages authoritarian regimes, retains the option of sending terrorist suspects abroad to places where they might be tortured and puts off a presidential meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Mr. Obama’s decision to wait until after he visits China in November to meet with the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists – who was on Capitol Hill Tuesday receiving an award – comes after a series of decisions that have underlined a classic tension in U.S. foreign policy between the head and the heart.
I would think that Obama’s warming up to Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, and other countries would have given them a clue. Nothing to see here. Move along.
ITEM: Remember back in 2006 how Nancy Pelosi said that the House would work five days a week now that the Democrats were back in control?
After taking control of the House in 2006 — and again when President Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) boasted that lawmakers would work four or five days a week to bring change to America.
But midway through Obama’s first year in office, Hoyer’s House has settled into a more leisurely routine. Members usually arrive for the first vote of the week as the sun sets on Tuesdays, and they’re usually headed back home before it goes down again on Thursdays.
Since the House returned for its fall session on Sept. 8, it has stuck around to vote on a Friday just once: to approve a 5.8 percent increase in Congress’s own budget.
A Democratic leadership aide vehemently defended the schedule, saying members shouldn’t be kept in Washington for four or five days when work can be completed in fewer.
On the other hand, given the track record of the House to date, I’m happy to have them gone as much as possible. Primum non nocere and all that. ..bruce w..