Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cramdown vs. modesty

Gail Collins: I only have one thought, which is that the Democrats should pass the health care bill now. If that means having the House pass the Senate version, fine. Even the stupid parts. Even the part about how Nebraska doesn’t have to pay its share of the Medicaid bills, which is so ridiculous that even Nebraskans are embarrassed.

They can fix it later. Or take the money out of the ethanol subsidies. ...

David Brooks: Gail, first, let me give you a hypothetical. Let’s say we had a year-long debate in the run-up to the Iraq war. Let’s say at the end of that debate, 33 percent of Americans thought it was a good idea to invade Iraq, 46 percent thought it was a bad idea and the rest weren’t sure. Then let’s say that there were a bunch of elections in places like New Jersey and Virginia in the middle of this debate and George Bush’s party lost them all badly. Let’s say at the end of this debate there was a senate race in Wyoming in which a Democratic candidate made preventing the war a central plank in his campaign. Let’s say Bush went out to Wyoming and told voters they had to support the Republican to save the Iraq invasion. And let’s say the Democrat still went on to win that Wyoming Senate seat by more than 5 percentage points.

Would you have advised George Bush under these circumstances to go ahead and invade Iraq? Would you have advised him to call a special lame duck session of Congress to push through a war resolution before the new senator could be seated? Would you have advised him to invent some legislative trick so he could still have his invasion? Or would you have said, George, I know you really want to invade Iraq. I know you think an invasion will do a lot of good for the world. But the American people are pretty clear about this issue. Maybe you should show a little doubt. Maybe you ought to listen and give this whole thing a second look. ...

If the Democrats act like the country hasn’t voiced a judgment, if they try to ram this through, there will be an explosion the likes of which we haven’t seen. It will be a supreme act of insularity.
--Opinionator, New York Times, on the political suicide of cramming the healthcare bill through before Scott Brown is seated as Senator

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