Health care end game strategy

H/T Vassar Bushmills

I think this is the article Vassar was alluding to in his earlier post.  He’s right.  Newt Gingrich outlines everything perfectly.  Another imporant part of the article gives a glimpse into how this is going to play out in the Senate if Pelosi can get a House bill through.  On a side note before I get into all the gory details, it looks right now as if Pelosi has lost Stupak and at least a dozen Democrats as she stated that the abortion issue cannot be resolved in the House. 

Gingrich outlined the options that the Democrats have to go with in this entire process.  They in turn are:

  1. Pelosi gets the House to sign the Senate bill with an agreement on fixes to be done via reconciliation later.  The problem with this approach is that she’ll lose the Stupak coalition as noted above and there is some question how well the progressives would stomach this with having to vote for a bill without a public option and having to explain for taxation of Cadillac plans to big labor leaders.  Then it would get kicked to the Senate where the reconciliation fixes start happening in the future, hypothetically.  Another problem.  Would the Senate take this up at a later time?  I don’t think so.  Pelosi might be trying to get Reid to muster 50 votes together with an agreement to do something about it later.  The problem is though that the outcry of the public is going to scare these Senators to death.  They want to keep their jobs.  It would be reckless for Pelosi to go ahead and get this out without Senate agreement as it would hang House Democrats out to dry for nothing. 
  2. The Senate passes the full healthcare bill first with 51 votes and then sends it back to the House for final passage.  Kent Conrad however has ruled this way out so no need to discuss here.
  3. The third is that if Pelosi can get something through the House, then they could use Joe Biden to override the parliamentarian as the GOP is sure to drag this process out for months in the Senate with amendments and points of order via the Byrd rule.   What will likely happen here is once Joe Biden tries to overrule once, he will have to overrule again and again as the GOP continues offering up everything in the book.   This would play out before the public in the media and Joe Biden’s would look so authoritarian he would be a usurper in the public’s eyes.  I don’t want to imagine the outcry that will come from the public as a result of this action.  It will be easy to see that this is a cramdown by a White House that ignores precendent, tradition, and subverts the intent and rules that have been put in place since our country was founded. 

The GOP strategy here is going to be simple and I think I can see clearly all that is going to happen.  They will drag this process out as long as they can in the Senate in what will amount to be all out political war in the Senate.  They will leave no bullet unused.  The longer they drag it out, the more the public will become aware of what is happening as they watch it play out on their TVs and radios.  This in turn will have a tremendously damaging effect for the Democratic party and those congressmen who are trying to get re-elected.  All this will go down as November draws closer with every day. 

If the Democrats are somehow able to get a bill to Obama’s desk, the GOP has already pledged they are going to run on repealing healthcare until they have the majorities to do it.  They will likely gain back the House and have an outside shot at the Senate.  If they gain majority in the Senate, they can put either put a repealing bill or a healthcare replacement together.  Democrats will be forced again to take very difficult votes.  If a bill makes it to Obama’s desk and the likely veto that is to come, the GOP will use this to bash Obama with in his 2012 re-election campaign and hit Democratic congressmen even harder.  The Senate prospects for the Democrats in 2012 look incredibly bleak.  The GOP reasonably stands a shot at getting a 60 vote supermajority in the Senate.  Using the repeal healthcare issue to slam Obama with in his re-election campaign will be the ticket to the 2012 presidency and the GOP being in control of the legislative and executive branch of government. 

I like this a lot.  So long as I see the GOP not afraid to use every tool at their disposal to stop this thing, if something God forbid passes, I like the GOP’s chances of getting this nightmare undone at a later time but it is a tall order.   The conventional wisdom is that if something passes into law, it usually never gets repealed.  2012 is going to be a very, very important election for this country.  If something passes and healthcare cannot be undone before Obamacare goes into effect, this country is finished.

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