Commentary Magazine


The End Game

Politico reports:

The advice went out to freshman and sophomore House Democrats, blunt talk to help them through a tricky vote on health reform.”At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no?” the memo said. “Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL.”

Got that? Time to take your lumps and walk the plank! The Democratic leadership most certainly would prefer that the House members not think about reconciliation, for that would remind them how deeply suspicious is the electorate about the process and the substance of ObamaCare. And, of course, the Pelosi-Reid-Obama troika doesn’t want the troops thinking too hard about this week’s parliamentarian’s ruling that made crystal clear what is required here: the House will need to pass the Senate bill, and it will become law before anything is fixed (or not). That means that the abortion subsidy and some of those colorfully named deals will in fact become law. “The ‘Louisiana Purchase’ — $300 million in additional Medicaid money for the state — and a $100 million hospital-grant program requested by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will remain in the legislation,” Politico reports.

It is widely assumed that Pelosi is currently short of the votes needed to pass the wildly unpopular bill. What remains to be seen is whether she can arm-twist and cajole enough members to sacrifice themselves for the greater glory of Obama and the Left’s dream of a health-care “reform.” Republicans will try their best. As one leadership adviser put it to me: “Our goal next week is to sow as much chaos and confusion as possible and make it as difficult as humanly possible. … Our ability to make Dems vote no is limited to applying as much public pressure as possible.  Pelosi and crew can offer payoffs, kickbacks, earmarks and other sweetheart deals to entice them to vote yes.” And should Pelosi pull it off, the rest of the year and the foreseeable future will be a referendum on that vote, with Republicans dedicated to the repeal of a bill that the electorate finds noxious.

No wonder the leadership doesn’t want its members thinking too hard or too long about this process. If they do, they might decide to pull back from that precipice, save themselves, and in the process, rescue what’s left of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.