Friday, September 18, 2009

Senators: "Our Hands Are Tied" and "What Can We Do?"

Conservative Democrats in the Senate are quickly adopting a series of weak excuses for walking away from a public option.

Instead of arguing against the public option in policy terms, the Senators instead argue that the public option simply cannot pass. In fact, among these five Senators, only Joe Lieberman has even stated his opposition to a public option--and Lieberman cites the inability of the public option to pass as his "most important" rationale for opposition.

What's worse is that the argument 60 votes are needed for the public option is simply false. Not only have many experts argued that a public option can be included in reconciliation, but any filibuster can be broken with only 51 Senators. Even if there are differing interpretations of reconciliation, the later cannot be disputed--any filibuster can be broken with 51 votes.

This is how conservative Democrats talk to progressive Democrats. Instead of coming out against progressive policy ideas on their merits, they instead offer up process argument. Further, as is the case with the arguments above, such process arguments are typically bogus. They all claim there aren't enough votes for a public option, without citing a list of Senators that makes it impossible, and without addressing either reconciliation or the nuclear option.
They aren't putting themselves on record opposing the policy in policy terms, and they aren't being truthful about the rules they are using as a misleading excuse. Yes we'd love to do something meaningful. Yes we'd love to have reform with some teeth. Yes dropping this ball will bite us in 2010 and even 2012. But what can we do?

It's FISA fight, redux. There are glaring holes in the House leadership strategies. A majority vote could get this through.

Sign DFA's petition challenging the 60 vote myth.

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