“Parliamentary Trickery”

Whenever an American talks about their great project of spreading “democracy” around the world, remember that this is what they have in mind.

The decision by the US Democrats to simply put the healthcare bill to a majority vote has been derided by Republicans and their media allies as “parliamentary trickery”, and the President has been condemned for “jamming the bill down Americans’ throats”.

Now, none of that makes any sense – “reconciliation”, the measure by which the Senate can stop a minority of senators filibustering indefinitely to stop the majority of representatives passing legislation, is entirely democratic. The filibuster is a “parliamentary trick”, not the measure that overrides it and restores democracy. And the Republicans have never been afraid to use it before themselves.

As for “jamming the bill down Americans’ throats” – how risible. They’ve had a year of “debate”, in which the opponents of public health have tried to claim everything from the bill being a soviet imposition to Obama’s cunning plan to slaughter the nation’s grandparents. They had another public discussion the other week, in which the Republicans refused to participate meaningfully and just demanded that the whole thing be scrapped.

Frankly, it’s about time the Democrats remembered that they WON the 2008 election – and the Republicans DIDN’T – and the reason that they’re slipping in the polls is that they’ve spent a year dithering and trying to please the people who hate them and want them to fail. I mean, the best thing would be for the Democrats to scrap the negotiated bullshit half-arsed bill and reintroduce the full public healthcare system that they originally promised the American people – but that’s not going to happen. They’re the Democratic Party, after all, not principled advocates for liberalism or anything.

And THAT is the sort of choice the US wants voters around the world to have. Are you sold?

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13 responses to ““Parliamentary Trickery”

  1. The Republican party is unsurpassed in its mendacity. It carries on because it knows that it will never be pulled up by the ‘liberal’ media, because they are falling over themselves to be ‘balanced’. In much the same was as the ABC will, for example, compare an outright lie by Bolt with an anonymous comment in a lefty blog to conclude that ‘both’ sides are doing it.

    The Republican party is vulnerable to claims of hypocrisy because of its own use of reconciliation, in particular to pass the Bush tax cuts, which is why it is busy trying to conflate reconciliation with the ‘nuclear option’. The nuclear option is what Republicans threatened Democrats with when they were opposing Bush judicial appointments and allows for filibusters to be voted down with a majority rather than the 60+ votes normally required.

    In any case, health care reform has already passed in the senate with a 60 count vote and reconciliation is an appropriate method to pass the budgetary aspects of the legislation.

    This message seems rather simple to get across but Democrats are unable to do so and , as you point out, seem unable to just behave like winners.

  2. Northern Exposure

    Actually the Dems will be going for their “Final Solution” to the “Health Care Question” if they go with reconsillynation.

    About time too.

  3. Yes, and I’m sure you were just as outraged when the Democrats were wielding their judicial filibuster against George W Bush. Also, about 60 per cent of Americans consistently poll against ObamaCare, so in this case the Democrats are doing the will of the people.

  4. “Also, about 60 per cent of Americans consistently poll against ObamaCare”

    Source? FoxNews?

    And healthcare was hardly a post-election promise by the Democrats – they have a clear mandate for it.

    “Yes, and I’m sure you were just as outraged when the Democrats were wielding their judicial filibuster against George W Bush”

    I don’t recall the examples in question, but the filibuster is profoundly undemocratic.

    On the other hand, so is what Dubya’s appointees in the Supreme Court have just done to the American electoral system with the free-reign just given to corporations, so it may have been the lesser of two evils…

    The point is that the US system of voting is broken, the US system of government is broken, the US constitution has been broken, and the ability of the US to find solutions to problems like healthcare that don’t involve just chucking the poor to the wolves… well, it’s nonexistent.

    And yet they think they’re a beacon of hope to the world.

  5. Shabadoo, as far as I know a good chunk of the opposition to the bill comes from people who want it to be much stronger, or want medicare extended to all americans instead. A majority of Americans want universal health care, and a plurality (as you said, about 40%) prefer “Obamacare” to the “public option” and not having any reform at all.

  6. It’s concerning that while the GOP clearly don’t have the brains to run the country, the Dems don’t have the balls to either.

  7. The fascinating bit of this saga is the willingness of the Democrats to pass flawed legislation that most voters do not appear to want. Even more fascinating is that the Democrat leadership is prepared to sacrifice marginal members, and even their house and senate majorities to get compromised legislation passed.

    It will be interesting to see how the members facing re-election react. And it will be very interesting to see how voters react in November.

    Maybe the name of the game is to force your legislation through while you have your majority, rather than listen to polticians spooked by a fickle electorate. Grab your popcorn, there is some great viewing ahead!

  8. confessions

    The Republicans are like the Liberals: they don’t understand mandates unless it’s their own.

  9. Mandates don’t exist unless you have the votes to pass your legislation or are prepared to negotiate to get it through. If you don’t have control, and are unwilling to negotiate, you live in fantasy world whereas politics is the art of the possible.

  10. Northern Exposure

    SB
    “Maybe the name of the game is to force your legislation through while you have your majority”

    Abso-fucking-lutely, especially when more poor people will live instead of die because of it, and the middle working class will sleep a little easier knowing if they slip in their driveway they wont have to file for bankruptcy.

    Obama’s “Final Solution” should have been rammed through when they had their super majority, it’s so annoying they have to worry about their majority because one nude model truck driver won.

  11. “Mandates don’t exist unless you have the votes to pass your legislation or are prepared to negotiate to get it through. If you don’t have control, and are unwilling to negotiate, you live in fantasy world whereas politics is the art of the possible.”

    They do have the votes. They have a massive majority, only one vote short of a “supermajority”. You only need a majority to have a mandate and to govern.

  12. Well they should have passed when they had the chance, because it’s all downhill from here. But apparently they can’t even govern their own party.

  13. Well, they still “have the chance”, because they have a large majority in both houses.

    But you won’t find me defending the Democrats – they’re a piss-poor consolation prize for lefties. It’s just further evidence of how broken the US electoral system is that it’s either them or the even-worse Republicans.

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