Does the Slaughter “pass the bill without voting on it” plan give the No votes political cover from both the left and the right?
Cover from the left: the undecideds who vote No could then say — I did not vote against the President’s health reform plan, I voted against the rule.
Cover from the right: the No votes can also say they were not comfortable with “passing the bill without voting on it.”
Cover for the White House: after losing the vote in the House, Obama can turn the lemon into lemonade -- my health care plan did not fail in the House, the rule failed.
Cover for the Speaker: the rule on the Senate health plan failed, not the House health plan.
Now, the Speaker and the White House can go ahead and vote -- and lose the vote on the rule, without losing too much face.