Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leaving the stupid their outrage

The House is going to vote on the Senate health care bill. Up or down, as always.

Never mind the Republican propaganda to the contrary on Fox (as usual):

An emerging Democratic plan to vote on health care reform without really voting on health care reform has critics riled up.
Sure, the Boston Herald has the AP's similar take:
...plans to push massive health care legislation through the House without a direct vote.
And CNN has a typically bullshit headline in support of GOP talking points:
Could House approve Senate health care bill without vote?
The Washington Post ladles on the stink:
House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it
But the New York Times is surely a paragon of truth, right? Uh, no. Your big media - conduit for whatever Republicans would want in a press release (such as this one). Here's the Times:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is eyeing a strategy by which the Democrats include the Senate bill in the rule that will set the terms of the House floor debate on the health care legislation. Once the rule is adopted, the Senate bill would be “deemed” to have passed without House members actually voting on it.
Look, this is pretty simple: The House is going to vote on this. The entire membership must approve the floor rule. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants can't simply stamp a bill law and be done with it. They need 217 votes.

Pelosi wants to package the vote in its floor rule because she wants her members to be able to vote at the same time on Senate bill and the reconciliation bill that fixes the Senate bill (well, starts the first toddler steps toward fixing it). This has a real benefit for Pelosi, no doubt about it. It stretches the ideological range of her shaky coalition.

Prominent Republicans want you to believe that this is about Democrats escaping responsibility for voting for the Senate bill, when actually they know it's not. Their own future ads will tie Democrats to this vote without worrying about parliamentary procedure in the least.

This parliamentary maneuver is about making a vote in favor of insurance reform of health care easier to explain. Liberals will be able to say that they held their nose and voted for the bill because of the reconciliation fixes. Conservatives will be able to say that they agreed with the Senate bill and agreeing with the reconciliation fixes was the only way to get that.

No one - no one - will try to convince voters that this new law is perfect, just that it is a little better than what went before.

Meanwhile, every media outlet I've read that has a story is pushing Republican talking points. The press could have dug - but didn't - into a quote featured prominently in the GOP release:
“I think we're going to have a vote, and the American people are entitled to an up or down vote. We don't want to see procedural gimmicks used to try and prevent an up or down vote on this issue.” Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod, 3/14/10, ABC’s This Week)
Republicans want to show Axelrod and Democrats as hypocrites when the GOP themselves baldly show their own hypocrisy. The House will have an up-or-down vote; it always does on any bill that passes. But Axelrod decried the filibuster in the Senate, where Republicans rely on it to prevent the corresponding up-or-down vote, when the very phrase entered our political lexicon because Republicans demanded that Democrats not use the same filibuster.

Most amazing is the sheer eagerness of Republicans to lay bare their depraved indifference to the truth or to holding themselves to anything close to the standard they want to hold Democrats to. If we had a political media worth having, the GOP would be drawn and quartered for this straightforward, undeniable, blatant bit of duplicity. (It's so visibly out front I can't even call it deceit.)

The upshot, instead, is that the media would rather help Republicans foment even more unjustified outrage in their know-nothing base.

And of course, the Democrats, still naive about the bare knuckle game they're in, adduce cases where this sort of rule has been used before. So what!

What they need to be doing is saying, "The Republicans are lying about this. There is going to be a vote. It'll be on C-SPAN if you want to tune in. Their claims are as always a thin tissue of lies intended to fool the fools. I'm sure there aren't many fools out there who are taken in by this."

The Democrats need to say this over and over and over again. Sweetly, with a sad smile. The Republicans don't deserve any credibility. The future of America depends on exacting a price from them every single time they lie.

The media once cared for the task of winnowing grains of truth out of bullshit. Reporters no longer do this without help. When are the Democrats going to cotton onto this 30-year-old truth?

No comments: