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Lawrence O'Donnell: Will Scott Brown Ruin Republicans' (Secret) Plan to Pass Obamacare?

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:11 PM
Original message
Lawrence O'Donnell: Will Scott Brown Ruin Republicans' (Secret) Plan to Pass Obamacare?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/will-sc...

Lawrence O'Donnell
Posted: January 17, 2010 09:03 PM

Will Scott Brown Ruin Republicans' (Secret) Plan to Pass Obamacare?


It is now a given that if he wins a Massachusetts Senate seat on Tuesday, Scott Brown will destroy the Democrats' plan to pass health care reform. But he will also destroy the Republicans' not-so-secret plan to pass health care reform.

In Washington, where everyone is desperate to know what's happening behind closed doors, all you have to do to keep something secret is do it out in the open, preferably on C-Span. Mitch McConnell did exactly that when he entered a unanimous consent agreement with Harry Reid about how to proceed on the health care bill. McConnell knew that agreement was going to make it impossible for Republicans to amend the bill and would put it on a fast track toward passage.

McConnell accepted an agreement brilliantly designed by Reid that required 60 votes to pass an amendment. McConnell did that without anyone noticing anything odd after a year of saturation coverage of the importance of 60 votes in the Senate. Everyone outside the Senate now thinks it takes 60 votes to do anything. Not amendments. Amendments pass by a simple majority, 51 votes. Amendments are usually debated for a couple of minutes or hours or days, then voted on. Once in a while, a 60-vote cloture motion is needed to end debate on an amendment. What McConnell agreed to was an implicit cloture motion in every vote on every amendment, thereby completely surrendering the minority's real power. In all my years in the Senate, I never saw a leader make such a mistake. If it was a mistake.

There are no real filibusters in the Senate anymore. The way you "filibuster" a bill that you want to kill is offer an endless stream of reasonable sounding amendments that have to be debated and voted on. It's easy to come up with one amendment per page of legislation. That's why the Republicans offered hundreds of amendments during the Senate committees' debates on the bill. When the majority leader brings up a two thousand page bill, the minority would normally come up with at least five hundred amendments that could drag out the debate for several months. That's what the Republicans did in 1994 when they killed the Clinton health care reform bill on the Senate floor. No filibuster, no forcing the Democrats to clear 60-vote procedural hurdles, no forcing a reading to the bill, just an endless stream of reasonable sounding amendments -- so reasonable that some of them passed with votes of 100 to 0. And the Democrats, seeing this could go on forever, surrendered. Fifty-seven Democrats were defeated by forty-three determined Republicans.

This time, Republicans tried to look obstructionist. To the media, the Tea Partiers, and Sarah Palin, it sure looked like Republicans were pulling out all the stops -- forcing a reading of the bill, forcing a frail elderly senator to vote in the middle of the night. But the Republicans only offered four substantive amendments along with five hopeless motions to send the bill back to the Finance Committee. One Republican amendment actually got 51 votes, but didn't pass because McConnell's 60-vote agreement with Reid sabotaged it. A Democratic amendment on re-importation of prescription drugs got more than 50 votes but did not pass. It would have shot a hole through Harry Reid's bill, as would other Democratic amendments that got more than 50 votes and failed. McConnell's unanimous consent agreement with Reid made Reid's bill impenetrable on the floor.

There are no columnists or pundits who understand Senate parliamentary procedure. There are actually very few senators who do. McConnell knows that. He knew everyone would fall for the silly stunts that looked obstructionist while he was surrendering all his power to Reid.

And now the strategy becomes clear: Repeal it! That is the Republican Party battle cry for the 2010 election. Repealing Obamacare is going to be the centerpiece of their campaign to take back the House and Senate. But how can you repeal it if they don't pass it. Hence, Mitch McConnell's enabling.

President Obama threatening to violate a campaign pledge by taxing workers' health care plans is one thing, but actually doing it is a dream come true for Republicans. They know the health care reform bill has a handful of taxes like that, none of which were mentioned by any Democrat in the last campaign. They can't wait to campaign to repeal those taxes. The internal Republican strategy debate now is should we repeal the whole bill or maybe leave some of the more popular sounding bits alone? But how can they run on any kind of repeal if Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts and steps into the Senate just in time to kill Obamacare?

If that happens, and the Democrats then scale back their dreams on cap and trade and other liberal ideas, then maybe moderate independents -- including some of Scott Brown's voters -- might think Mitch McConnell has all the Republicans he needs to keep the Democrats on the moderate course those voters prefer. So who is Mitch McConnell really rooting for in Massachusetts?
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. DU will not accept any OP that has the words "brilliantly" and "Reid" in the same sentence. n/t
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is convoluted silliness. Really. n/t
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. It's all theater...
This bill is WANTED by the health-insurance companies and big Pharma.

They wrote the freakin bill! Hundreds of lobbyists from these industries
had set up camp in DC months before media attention was focused on healthcare
reform. The bill was written and decisions were finalized months ago.

The theater we see is just playacting. They're "history's actors" remember?

Both Democrats and Republicans want this to pass. It's a big pay day for
the health-insurance industry. There's no reform in it. There's no
cost controls. The insurance companies can charge us ANYTHING they damn
well please for co-pays and deductibles.

So, after you pay thousands of dollars--that you will be mandated to pay--to
get in the system--you most likely won't be able to afford the co-pays and
deductibles. So, you won't use the services. What a coup for big
insurance---you're FORCED TO PAY INTO THE SYSTEM--but you won't be able
to use the services.

You wonder why health-insurance stocks are surging? Because those "in the know"
understand very well what is coming down the pike...major profits.

The Dems are in the majority, so they'll take the fall for this one. They'll
cheerlead this horrible, non-reform bill, while the Republicans play
outraged and shocked.

Oh please. I've had enough from our DC dramaticians.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Deleted message
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 06:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. And it's not even good theater....
Where's the passion? Where's the suspense?

Anymore they just phone it in...
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
4. Interesting article. I'm surprised O'Donnell didn't suggest a possible Snowe defection
...as a possible outcome.
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Aramchek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
6. O'Donnel is a dipshit. Countdown is unwatchable when he's hosting.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. This article is brilliant. He writes to expose and it is easily understandable. It is blunt.
Bluntness and truth is what we always ask for in an analyst. There is no proganda here. Brilliant because it is not predictable. It exposes.

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. I agree
And unlike almost every last one of us on this board, he has actually been there and knows exactly how the games get played.
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #13
19. +1
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
7. Recommend
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maglatinavi Donating Member (614 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
8. health care reform
The only person responsible for the health care reform failure is Obama. Period.
:thumbsdown: :kick: :thumbsdown: :kick: :thumbsdown: :kick: :thumbsdown: :kick:
If only Hillary were the POTUS! sigh :yoiks: :yoiks: :yoiks: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Citizen Kang Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. uhhhh
Exactly what would Hillary have done to make Health Care Reform better? We have an Obama administration that is filled with Clinton/DLC retreads. Obama's Health Care Reform plan follows the Clinton "Third Way" playbook to a 'T'. You are fooling yourself if you think a Hillary Clinton's Health Care Reform would be any better.
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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:43 AM
Response to Original message
12. This is a stretch. It is still a bad idea to elect Brown n/t
Edited on Mon Jan-18-10 01:19 AM by wisteria
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New Dawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
14. The GOP wants the fascist Individual Mandate too.
Because they are also owned by the "health" insurance industry. Of course, they probably will pretend to campaign against it during 2010 midterm election.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. Yep
They may campaign against the mandate and the tax on the workers but don't look for them to repeal them if they regain power. Look for them to scale back the subsidies and further weaken the already weak regulations on the industry but they won't repeal the mandate or the workers' tax.
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:18 AM
Response to Original message
15. Even if Coakley loses, I imagine big insurance will manage to buy one Republican senator.
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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:20 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. No, and it is bad in more than just health care if he becomes a senator-no Brown. n/t
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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 05:59 AM
Response to Original message
17. I have been saying all along that the Repubs are dying for the HCR bill to pass
because they see it as their ticket back in. They have mounted no offense against it whatsoever and can point proudly to the fact that NOT ONE of them voted for it. I will be even bolder than O'Donnell and predict that they actually force one or two of their own on their way out anyway to go ahead and vote for it, just so they can count on keeping it as a cudgel in the next election.

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. I agree the Repubs want the bill to pass so they can run against it.
This is such a mess for us...
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Faryn Balyncd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. There is nothing the GOP would like better than a corporatist disaster they can blame on Democrats.
Edited on Mon Jan-18-10 04:25 PM by Faryn Balyncd

and Lawrence O'Donnell nails it again.......just as he didb in September when he told Olberman the DLC corporatist would run over the base, and Congress would cave:




MSNBC Countdown w/ KEITH OLBERMANN - 8 September 2009: Interview with Lawrence O'Donnell on Public Option.

OLBERMANN: We also keep hearing that the White House has been frustrated that the public option has gotten far too much attention in its opinion in this entire debate. How did they misread this? It seems that the public option is the hinge on which forcing insurance prices down exists or does not exist?

O'DONNELL: Well, what they misread, Keith, is how much uproar this would cause on the left. They were using the old playbook, the 1994 playbook. And what you have to remember about 1994 is: There were no blogs in 1994. And for the 15 year olds out there, I hate to tell you, but MSNBC did not exist in 1994. And so when we were legislating this in 1994, we did not worry about risking the wrath of the left if we were trying to move the bill toward the middle, because we knew the left would have to be with us in a vote when we actually get to the Senate floor or the House floor. That is the normal formula: That the Democrats don't worry about the left.

And that is the formula that they're using this time. Nancy Pelosi firmly believes that when the moment comes she can gather her caucus together and tell them that she fought harder for the public option than Barack Obama did, than Harry Reid did, than any senator did, no one fought harder for it than Nancy Pelosi, and she is now telling her troops they're gonna have to go forward without it. That moment is going to come.

OLBERMANN: But there's still a calculation in the other direction here that doesn't add up either. Assuming no Republican votes in the House, the speaker can only afford to lose 38 Democrats. Twenty-three Blue Dogs said they will not vote for the bill as it now stands. But there's 60 to 100 Democratic members - progressives - who might bolt without a public option. Doesn't both sets of math fail her?

O'DONNELL: They do, but she believes is, and what she believes, and what they always believe in the Democratic Party, is that when it comes down to the actual legislating moment, they will get those hundred liberals in the house to go along with this more centrist position. They'll give up on the Blue Dogs and they'll simply talk to that 60-100 voters on the left in the House to be on board with this and be on board with this President and it will work, because it always works.

- snip -

If Nancy Pelosi gets it to the point that where the only way to get this through is without the public option, and she gathers her caucus together and she tells them that in one of those 'hold-hands prayer meetings,' in effect. And Charlie Rangel, who's been very strong on this, and Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee stands up and says we've got to do it this way, because that's what chairmen always do - chairmen want to get a bill in the end and they will basically hold hands and say 'let's do it this way.'

OLBERMANN: And what happens then on the left, and perhaps in the middle, and to some degree on the right, when a bill passes that doesn't have a public option and thus basically forces more people to buy over-the-counter insurance from insurance companies that are not seriously regulated because there is no public option? What do we have then? Protests in the streets?

O'DONNELL: And. And, does not provide universal coverage. What's been lost in all this discussion all year is that none of the bills that have come out of any of these committees actually provide universal coverage. And so, in the end, what would the left have been fighting for all year if it ends up being a bill that simply supports and expands the business of private insurance companies, does not provide universal coverage, falls short by 10, 15, possibly 20 million people? That's when we see the explosion that we would get on the Internet as something we've never seen before in our politics. Because, as I say, at these legislative junctures in the past, the Internet did not exist.

OLBERMANN: Alright, well, we'll see what the Internet can do to change the equation, but I think we're still going to have to meet at the barricades one way or the other.

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 09:16 PM
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24. kick
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