Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pass the damn bill — A wrap-up so far

Yesterday I posted the following 5 pieces, with arguments coming from somewhat different directions but converging on the same fundamental conclusion. (Most of these pieces are unapologetically Democratic in their sympathies and intended audience. Jonathan Rauch, on the other hand, clearly believes that the analysis he offers should also appeal to a pragmatic, humane, and non-doctrinaire Republican and/or conservative.)

In response to some requests, I am collecting them here in one place:

Pass the damn bill (#1) - Jonathan Cohn
Pass the damn bill (#2) - Paul Krugman
Pass the damn bill (#3) - Washington Monthly/Politico
Pass the damn bill (#4) - William Galston
Pass the damn bill (#5) - Jonathan Rauch

Pass the damn bill (#6) - Paul Begala & Andy Stern
Pass the damn bill (#7) - Henry Aaron
Now, Pass The Damn Bill (#8) - Jonathan Cohn
Pass the damn bill (#9) - Warren Buffett
Pass the damn bill (#10) - Theda Skocpol
Pass the damn bill (#11) - Matt Yglesias
Pass the damn bill (#12) - The Catholic Health Association & Catholic nuns representing a range of socially active religious orders

=> I suppose I should add Paul Krugman's excellent column from last Thursday (January 21): "Do the Right Thing"
A message to House Democrats: This is your moment of truth. You can do the right thing and pass the Senate health care bill. Or you can look for an easy way out, make excuses and fail the test of history. [....]
Ladies and gentlemen, the nation is waiting. Stop whining, and do what needs to be done.
=> And I will add two brief statements that I think are both cogent and relevant.

The first is a commentary e-mailed to me yesterday by Victor Lidz (and reproduced with his permission):
Thanks for collecting these several convergent opinions. I agree entirely that (1) the bill must be passed – the administration and Democratic members of Congress cannot let the whole protracted set of negotiations go down the tubes, producing nothing after having occupied the political center stage for most of last year; (2) once passed, the law will be very popular – the opposition is based almost entirely on misrepresentations and outright lies about the bill, ones Republicans had the opportunity to put forward only because of the protracted process of developing the bill; (3) passing the Senate bill in the House is the only practical way of proceeding, because Republicans will oppose in every way possible; (4) Nancy Pelosi should be told by the White House that her job is not to count votes in the House but to produce the votes for the sake of the party’s overall needs and benefits – maybe the president has to go up to the House and meet with the Democrats to persuade them and indeed lean on them, but it is unthinkable that they would abandon the bill once they have reflected on the consequences [JW: I hope that prediction is correct]; (5) it would be best to do this tomorrow – before the State of the Union; (6) the president has to make a strong statement in the State of the Union about the importance of the Senate bill and its measures – and he needs to emphasize how much of it was shaped by concession to Republicans who then still backed away from it in bad faith; (7) the Democrats need then to focus on job creation.
The second comes from a characteristically pithy blog post by Mark Kleiman:
As Dr. Johnson said, the prospect of imminent catastrophe can concentrate the mind wonderfully.

Despite an initial tendency in Blue Blogistan to debate whether the recent reverses should be blamed on (1) progressives (2) centrists or (3) Barack Obama, a healthy consensus seems to be developing that we should (1) blame the Republicans and (2) do something about it, namely demand that our legislators Pass the Damned Bill. That would mean having the House pass the Senate bill under assurances that various points of dispute will be resolved satisfactorily to the House under the budget reconciliation process. [....]
Right. If you live in a district with a wavering member of Congress, call his or her office.

--Jeff Weintraub