Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ezra Klein barks

My new favorite pastime is reading the comments below the WashPost's resident health care reform cheerleader. In today's installment, Klein pushes back against the Republicans and notes that the majority party gets to write the legislation and they should just shut up:

The Republicans might want to act like they're the majority, but they remain the minority. That's why they're afraid of this summit: They know that the majority can still pass a bill, and it's in the majority's interests to pass a bill, and they want to keep that from happening. But they can't. Only the Democrats can.
Brilliant. This commenter gets right to the point:

"They can write the legislation when the American people say they can." Pretty big talk, Ezra. Your party had the White House, Congress, and a gail [sic] force wind of public support at their backs for much of a year. Elections do matter, and the Dems couldn't finish the job at point blank range. Don't worry, November is coming and the American people will have their say about Obama, his healthcare plan and his entire agenda.
This one notes that the summit diminishes the Presidency:

This is just wrong. The summit itself is a sign of weakness. The Republicans are just pushing further to see if Obama backs down even more. This is a win for Republicans. The bill is on hold for another 2.5 weeks which means more time to kill it and if Obama doesn't "listen" to Republicans in his summit he'll take the heat, not them.
It appears that Obama's gambit here is to appear reasonable while those darn Republicans make demands that don't bow to the President's view of "bipartisanship." But I don't see this as a "trap" at all: the GOP should welcome another opportunity to showcase the awful aspects of this legislation. What's the downside again? Republicans might appear intransigent? That's what America wants them to be, at least on this bill.

Dems did win the previous election and the election before that, and they did get to write the underlying legislation. But passing that ghastly mess that they wrote is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. To do that, they have to write legislation that the public wants passed. Until they write legislation that satisfies a solid majority of the American people, there is no risk to the Republicans in opposing it.
Good stuff, Ezra. Keep it up.

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