Obstructionism + Nihilism = Nil

tea-party-protest-signsWhile John Cole agrees with the substance of my mild criticism of our food stamp policies, he thinks “we can’t do anything about it.”

I’m sure the House could pass a bill containing a small stipend for Americorps volunteers- in fact, I bet it would get a good bit of support. Likewise, I bet almost all the Democrats and even some Republicans in the Senate would be in favor of passing that bill.

Except the bill would never pass, and I’m surprised James does not recognize that he is operating in a fantasy world. Once the bill hit the Senate, the fun would begin. Even though in the past there were probably numbers of Republicans who supported Americorps, the large majority of them would just flat out say no. Wanting to negotiate in good faith, the Democrats slow down the debate to give the Republicans time to participate. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe would work for a couple weeks with Senate leadership, get a couple things they want in the bill, then sigh and utter their public regrets that they just can not support the bill. While this is happening, the media blitz starts.

He goes on for several paragraphs, imagining how news cycle would evolve.

I’ve got to admit, the current climate is so screwed up that this may be right.   I continue to hold out hope that we could pass these sort of corrective bills as stand-alone legislation.

Among our many problems is the tendency in recent years towards omnibus bills, which provide excuses for voting them down by their sheer vastness.  Indeed, Dave Schuler recently argued during one of our OTB Radio conversations that the Democrats should have taken that approach to health care reform.   The Republicans can get away with obstructionism because, in their states and districts, there’s plenty of animus against “ObamaCare” and various parts of it — but parts of the proposed reform package would be wildly popular even in safe Republican seats and they wouldn’t dare vote against these measures on their own.

But, again, I’m not as certain of this as I once was.  Is John right:  Has the noise machine gotten so prolific that it drowns out any good legislation?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Oh dear, America is ungovernable. Again. Who knew? Better give Dear Leader the unlimited powers he needs to fix us since we cannot fix ourselves. He does know what each of needs so much better than we do.

    And thus dies liberty.

  2. John S. says:

    but parts of the proposed reform package would be wildly popular even in safe Republican seats and they wouldn’t dare vote against these measures on their own

    If you really think that, James, then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Even wildly popular proposals that include a flotilla of Republican ideas will still be voted against by the GOP because they are committed to blocking anything put forth by the Democrats — even if it’s their ideas.

    Or did the little debacle regarding the deficit commission not officially remove the final fig leaf from what the Republicans are really about?

  3. John S. says:

    And thus dies liberty.

    Just out of curiosity Charles, did you feel this way when Bush was president and actually over-extended his constitutional powers through the magic of the unitary executive and signing statements, thereby striking a real blow to our liberty and the will of the people?

  4. Alex Knapp says:

    The Republicans can get away with obstructionism because, in their states and districts, there’s plenty of animus against “ObamaCare” and various parts of it — but parts of the proposed reform package would be wildly popular even in safe Republican seats and they wouldn’t dare vote against these measures on their own.

    The problem with this idea, at least in the context of health reform is that a lot of the pieces, passed separately, would make things worse without the other parts balancing them out.

    For example, if we just passed a law saying that insurance companies had to base premiums off of community ratings and not deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, that would be awesome. But without coupling that with a strong incentive for everyone to buy insurance (whether it’s a mandate or a big tax credit or what have you), the net result would be an incentive to NOT get insurance until you need it, thereby hiking insurance costs substantially since people with the lowest risk wouldn’t be in the pool.

  5. Bret says:

    John’s right. That’s exactly what would happen.

    And he pegged your inevitable response, too, James.

  6. Richard Bottoms says:

    I’ve got to admit, the current climate is so screwed up that this may be right. I continue to hold out hope that we could pass these sort of corrective bills as stand-alone legislation.

    God yes. Where have you been the last 16 months?

    Death panels? A simple speech to school children blocked out in some schools while Republicans deride it as Marxist propaganda?

    The GOP strategy is pass nothing while demonizing Obama as a socialist. Is there a single Republican who will stand up to the birthers even?

    You ambivalence represents the continued strategy of bringing a knife to a gunfight that has been going on for more than a year.

    Obama will not get Republican votes for anything, the GOP will string him along forever even voting against bill that they have themselves proposed if it will shiv the president.

    Wake the hell up.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    The Republicans opposed Americorps before they supported it, and their support was premised on outreach from Democrats and modifications to the program that addressed conservative ideological concerns. LINK

    I wonder who gets to sit on the committee that decides when a Republican (or Democratic) position is the de facto position for all time? Nixon supported health care reform, and as it once was, so it shall always be, apparently.

  8. Wayne says:

    The problem is putting too much value in a label. Simply naming it Americorps or Healthcare reform doesn’t’ say much about it substance. Allow the Republican to write the underlining substance of the bills and they will vote for it.

  9. Richard Bottoms says:

    Allow the Republican to write the underlining substance of the bills and they will vote for it.

    Silly me, I thought we won the last election and captured the White House, senate and congress with the largest majority any president has had in recent memory.

    I think that means we are the majority and the GOP is the minority.

    Unless the English language has somehow been redefined to where majority only means majority if the GOP is in charge.

    The GOP has decided they will not participate or support anything Obama wants and that the only acceptable political situation is them in charge and the Democrats kissing their behinds to get things done.

    When so-called moderates get that concept through their skulls we might stand a chance of governing this country. Until then they will continue to be “surprised” when Democrats spend months negotiating something with Republican “moderates” only to have it be rejected when it comes time for a vote.

    It’s called being a sucker and I wish we’d stop. That means you Evan Bayh.

  10. flounder says:

    [B]ut parts of the proposed reform package would be wildly popular even in safe Republican seats and they wouldn’t dare vote against these measures on their own.

    For the record, the majority of Senate Republicans recently voted to allow Haliburton to continue covering up violent gang-rape simply because the “stop government contractors from white-washing gang-rape” amendment was proposed by a Democrat. I am pretty sure that “violent gang rape” polls pretty badly, even in the reddest of districts.

  11. mr. whipple says:

    Is John right: Has the noise machine gotten so prolific that it drowns out any good legislation?

    Yes.

  12. Shade Tail says:

    Wayne: [“Allow the Republican to write the underlining substance of the bills and they will vote for it.”]

    Wayne, you have **GOT** to be kidding. First of all, Republicans do not vote for bills they themselves have written. Have you heard about the death of the deficit commission? The GOP was screaming for it and half a dozen GOP senators co-sponsored the bill. The instant President Obama declared, during his SOTU address, that he supported the move, every single GOP co-sponsor voted against their own bill. There’s also the fact that numerous GOP ideas have been incorporated into the Senate Health Care bill, and they are still unanimous against it.

    Second, have you seen the kind of substance they put into their bills? Health insurance “reform” that changes nothing. Massive tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy that we can’t afford. Slashing Medicare and Social Security. If that’s the price of getting a few GOP votes, then bipartisanship can go take a running leap.

  13. Crusty Dem says:

    Has the noise machine gotten so prolific that it drowns out any good legislation?

    Yes. Duh. Which is why I read John Cole every day, and you when he sends over a link..

    The Republicans (particularly individually) gain no benefit from being reasonable, from demonstrating any interest in bipartisanship, from doing anything other than obstructing. None will risk the ire of Rush and Glenn and the Tea Party nutbags by being seen working with the “Kenyan usurper”, they would automatically become enemy #1. The individual risk is extreme. And unless or until something can put more pressure on them to actually do something, they’ll continue this behavior indefinitely.

  14. James — policy is complex, you know that. Regarding healthcare, passing a few stand-alone provisions that are very popular (no recission for instance) would have few perverse impacts, but the big ones of expanding coverage without single payer by mandating community rating and guaranteed issue means unpopular things such as mandates and revenue to pay for the necessary subsidies are needed.

    To go your way, the House proproses 8 bills.
    1) No Recission
    2) Guaranteed Issue
    3) Community Rating mandate
    4) Cost Controls/Experiments for Cost Controls (EHR, Medicare billing practices, wellness incentives, end of life consulting etc)
    5) Expansion of Medicaid
    6) Mandate of some sort to make #2 and #3 work
    7) Subsidy to pay for mandates
    8) Funding Mechanism to pay for subsidies and Medicaid expansion

    Okay, 1, 2 and 3 should be wicked popular, 4 is iffy as the old people are worried about the government getting their hands on their Medicare. Medicaid is for “those people” and the undeserving poor, so even if it is very cost effective it has natural ideological opposition as well as weak advocates. 6,7 and 8 rile up the anti-taxers and the black helicopter crowd.

    So under your piecemeal reform we would see no recission (ok), community rating, guaranteed issue, maybe some cost control attempts, maybe a limited Medicaid expansion AND A MASSIVE ADVERSE SELECTION DEATH SPIRAL!

  15. Raoul says:

    John Cole totally schooled you but at least you had the inner fortitude to revisit the issue. I have noticed how cynical this blog has become the last several months to the point that Shelby blocking all appointments is viewed as fair. I think that bill making has always been ugly and even more so with modern complexities and the modern media. Usually, these bills are “liberal” because they entail actual government work and they take awhile to develop coalitions and compromises. From the Republican point of view, bills typically are tax cuts and wars. How easy (if wrong) is that? One of the Republican areas that involve complexities involve defense expenditures cloaked in black lining, meaning that the issues never see the light of day. I think the media (blogs), the legislators and the public need to be apprised of the new realities but that’s easier said than done.

  16. James Joyner says:

    I have noticed how cynical this blog has become the last several months to the point that Shelby blocking all appointments is viewed as fair.

    It’s not that I think these things are “fair” or even good policy; I just try to understand why they continually happen. It’s essentially Gresham’s Law come to fruition: Bad behavior drives out good.

    And I quickly backed off my stance on Shelby as information came in. The use of extraordinary measures, like blanket holds, is hardly unprecedented and I think it’s occasionally justified. Once the particulars became clear, though, Shelby’s action was clearly unjustified and I said so.

  17. Raoul says:

    Well then, I stand corrected.

  18. Richard Bottoms says:

    It’s not that I think these things are “fair” or even good policy; I just try to understand why they continually happen. It’s essentially Gresham’s Law come to fruition: Bad behavior drives out good.

    The point I am trying to make is that the GOP hasn’t reacted to Obama’s proposals in the way they have through happenstance or individual members finding fault with the president’s “socialist” agenda.

    What they are doing is following a poll testing strategy of saying no to most of what is proposed outright and where necessary stringing the Democrats along for weeks or months when they are forced to at least appear to give consideration to the other side and then saying NO when it comes time to vote.

    Either way, the goal is obstruct, demonize, and delay until November 9th, 2010 at which time they hope to recapture the House.

    That is their plan. Period.

    Until then there will be no governing, unless the Democrats summon the cajones to take their 51 vote majority and do the people’s business.

    And that won’t happen as long as “moderates” keep seeing equivalence between the behavior of the two sides.

    What we’d like from people like you is to open your eyes and see the political landscape for what it really is. Please.

  19. James Joyner says:

    What they are doing is following a poll testing strategy of saying no to most of what is proposed outright and where necessary stringing the Democrats along for weeks or months when they are forced to at least appear to give consideration to the other side and then saying NO when it comes time to vote.

    I think that’s largely true. Politicians and political parties adopt whatever strategies they think will best serve them electorally.

    Presumably, it wouldn’t work, though, if people generally thought the Democrats were offering sound policies. Granted, it’s harder to fight back in an era of narrow-cast news (Fox and MSNBC, blogs, talk radio, etc.) but Obama’s got the con and the bully pulpit.

  20. Richard Bottoms says:

    Presumably, it wouldn’t work, though, if people generally thought the Democrats were offering sound policies.

    So back when Obama was having to deal with his speech to school kids being blacked out in certain districts and Republicans decrying his “indoctrination” of children with a Marxist philosophy exactly how much airtime were his and the Democrats policies receiving?

    How about the week we spent discussing the merits of shotguns and Uzis at townhall meetings?

    Michelle Obama’s sleeveless dresses?

    Or that time we spent discussing whether it’s rude for a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to call the president a liar when he’s addressing the nation?

    I’d love to talk about policies but that’s a little hard to do when 55% of the other side either thinks the president is foreign born or isn’t sure. Numbers that track pretty close when the ones who think he’s the Anti-Christ.

    How do you deal with a party where 35% of its members think the current president should be impeached? For what I’m not entirely sure though I’m sure it has something to do with the Trilateral Commission and “those people” who control the banks.

    I ask in all seriousness because I haven’t a clue how we got to a point where one political party has as its mantra that the other side is not even legitimately entitle to run the country when it wins at the polls. The teabaggers are the legitimization of the militia movement from the 90’s, a time when Republicans couldn’t even muster the will to denounce armed military commandos preparing for war against Bill Clinton. Just how far does the right have to go before it’s too damn far as a political tactic to win back the White House?

    Does flat refusing to govern qualify?

  21. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Presumably, it wouldn’t work, though, if people generally thought the Democrats were offering sound policies.

    James, people do think the Dems’ policies are sound. But the majority party is in a position where if it acts without any GOP lawmakers’ consent, the noise machine hammers them for not acting in a “bipartisan” manner.

    So, to offer a FTFY: “Presumably, it wouldn’t work, though, if it was accurately reported the GOP minority is so reflexively anti-Obama if he issued a proclamation for Breathing Day, the Repubs would hold their breath until they passed out.

  22. Logokopp says:

    Yes.*

    *This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

  23. Meanderthal says:

    So, to offer a FTFY: “Presumably, it wouldn’t work, though, if it was accurately reported the GOP minority is so reflexively anti-Obama if he issued a proclamation for Breathing Day, the Repubs would hold their breath until they passed out.”

    That’s not bad, really. After all, air is free for everyone, whether or not they deserve it, therefore it–somehow–must be socialist! Anyone who isn’t a commie mutant traitor should stop breathing immediately!

  24. MichaelB says:

    Democrats are so cute when they’re angry. Maybe they should propose some simple popular legislation and force a vote on it. Since, by assumption, the legislation is simple (ie easy to explain to voters) and popular (ie voters think it’s good legislation) if Republicans don’t support it, Democrats will have some great fodder for the campaign trail this fall.

    Since instead, they seem intent on proposing complicated, unpopular legislation, maybe they should look closer to home for the source of their failure.

  25. Wayne says:

    Re “Wayne, you have **GOT** to be kidding.”

    That is what the liberals claim that the Republicans should do.

    The say the Dems should write the substance in the bill and the Rep should just go along with it. They claim that the Republicans will vote no on everything which is clearly not true.

    Try this exercise, switch Dems label with Reps in a situation and see if your stance holds up. You don’t expect the Dems to simply go along with the Reps regardless if they are in the majority or minority. They sure and hell didn’t when the Reps were the majority. Why do you expect the Reps to act any different than the Dems did\do?

  26. These comments are hilarious. But by all means, please encourage the Democrats to double down to recover their losses and make it impossible to reach a compromise. Please. Pretty please with sugar on it.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    Better give Dear Leader the unlimited powers he needs to fix us since we cannot fix ourselves. He does know what each of needs so much better than we do.

    Who knew that simply voting for bills that one agrees with meant “giving Dear Leader unlimited powers”? Strawman much?

    And thus dies liberty.

    I didn’t know that you had an alternate identity…let me guess, you also think the president is influenced by the Dark Side…

  28. cat says:

    I read all John’s paragraphs and I don’t see anything there I disagree with. It could never pass. Only war budgets and tax breaks for the rich.

  29. John S. says:

    and make it impossible to reach a compromise

    Clearly you and the Republicans do not know the meaning of the term:

    compromise

    1. Settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
    2. Something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things

    See those words “mutual concession”? You cannot compromise with people unwilling to make concessions. And the Republicans have clearly shown time and time again that they are unwilling to make concessions or negotiate on ANYTHING.

    Compromise does not mean “you make concessions and I get everything I want”.

  30. Richard Bottoms says:

    make it impossible to reach a compromise.

    There is no compromise. It is a mirage, Lucy with the football.

    Compromise is the Republicans win back the House so they can go back to not even bothering to pretend with this “let’s all get along” nonsense.

  31. Richard Bottoms says:

    Pretty please with sugar on it.

    No convincing people like you, that’s a given.

    What we have to do is convince people like James and the 2% swing voters that there is no spoon, that Democrats spending time trying to bend the spoon is a waste of time. It’s a trick while the Smiths try to unplug Neo.

    Seriously.

  32. Wayne says:

    John S
    Sound like you are talking about the Dems. The Dems are unwilling to give any concessions. When this point is brought up, liberals scream “they don’t have to. They are the majority”. They never explain why the majority doesn’t need to make concession but the minority does. It didn’t work that way when the Reps were the majority.

    So the world keeps spinning on.

  33. John S. says:

    Try this exercise, switch Dems label with Reps in a situation and see if your stance holds up.

    Try this for an exercise, Wayne.

    When Republicans have held the majority in the Senate in the last 30 years with the 97-99th, 104-106th and 108-109th congresses, cloture was invoked a total of 132 times.

    When Democrats have held the majority in the Senate in the last 30 years with the 96th, 100-103rd, 107th and 110-111th congresses, cloture was invoked a total of 203 times.

    In just the last two session of Congress (110th,111th) cloture has been invoked a staggering 99 times. The most the Democrats ever invoked cloture in a session of Congress during this period was 34 during the 109th. The Republicans equaled that number in the 107th, obliterated that number with 61 during the 110th and have surpassed that number with 38 in the current (111th) with almost an entire year left to go and no end in sight.

    Now tell us again how the Democrats would be doing the exact same thing if they were in the position the Republicans are in. Because the facts don’t bear your opinion out in the slightest.

  34. John S. says:

    The Dems are unwilling to give any concessions.

    Right, Wayne. Except for all the tax cuts they stuffed into the stimulus bill that garnered exactly ZERO Republican votes. And all the watering down of the healthcare bill at the request of Republicans who yet again offered exactly ZERO votes when it came time. Or the deficit commission that was co-sponsored by 6 Republicans, none of whom actually ended up voting for it.

    The only thing you’re correct about is that it didn’t work that way when the Reps were the majority because when they included concessions to Democrats, the Democrats actually voted for those bills (like NCLB and Medicare part D)!

    The fact of the matter is that the current behavior of the Republican party is unprecedented in American history, and you thinking otherwise doesn’t make it so.

  35. Pete says:

    The fact of the matter is that the current behavior of the Republican party is unprecedented in American history, and you thinking otherwise doesn’t make it so.

    Bold statement: Prove it.

  36. Spork says:

    James, you’re a little conservative for my taste, but strike me as a reasonable man. That’s why I keep reading your site 🙂 I’d ask you just to look at a pattern of behavior. Specific examples are abundant.

    As John S. referred to, “the deficit commission that was co-sponsored by 6 Republicans, none of whom actually ended up voting for it” is the starkest example of obstruction for obstruction’s sake. Obama himself gave some excellent examples of including Republican conceived and written ideas in the HCR bill during his Q and A with house R’s, which resulted in a total of zero Republican votes. This is, without hyperbole, putting politics above principle. It’s also hypocritical. I doubt anyone has ever seen before a blanket hold on ALL of an administration’s nominees in order to support a foreign companies contract procurement in a congressman’s home state but I do distinctly remember “Up or Down Vote!”and the threat of the “Nuclear Option” over appointees just a few short years ago.

    This is in fact unprecedented. Majority rule no longer exists in the Senate, and that has frozen the ability of our government to respond to immediate and pressing problems that are having a direct impact on the lives of the vast majority of Americans.

  37. An Interested Party says:

    The Dems are unwilling to give any concessions.

    Umm, not really

    Mr. Obama, in an exchange Friday with Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, said he had considered many Republican ideas and pointed, by example, to a proposal to allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines.

    “We actually include that as part of our approach,” the president said. “But the caveat is, we’ve got to do so with some minimum standards; because otherwise what happens is that you could have insurance companies circumvent a whole bunch of state regulations.”

    After the session, Representative John Shadegg, Republican of Arizona, took issue with Mr. Obama’s comments, saying the president “got his facts wrong.”

    “He insisted that his health care reform proposal would allow Americans to purchase insurance across state lines,” Mr. Shadegg said. “In reality, his bill nationalizes federal insurance regulation and gives the average American family no relief from expensive mandates that drive up the cost of health insurance.”

    But in a report comparing the health care bills passed by House and Senate Democrats, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote: “Both bills would allow states to form compacts to facilitate the sale and purchase of health plans across state lines.”

    Mr. Shadegg, a supporter of state high-risk insurance pools, also denounced as insufficient a provision in the Democrats’ legislation to temporarily expand high-risk pools until new rules take effect barring insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

    “The provision is nothing but a fancy window dressing to make a highly-partisan government-takeover of health care appear palatable,” Mr. Shadegg said. “Well, the curtain has been pulled back and the truth is exposed!” But while the Democrats’ proposal may differ from his own, the idea has been chewed over extensively by lawmakers in both parties.

    On a number of points, Republicans and Democrats are closer to agreement than many people realize.

    For instance, the Senate health bill would allow adult children to remain on their parents’ health plan until their 26th birthday but the rule would only apply to new insurance policies. The House Democrats’ bill would allow dependent coverage until the 27th birthday and the House Republicans’ bill until the 25th birthday, but both would apply the rule to existing policies.

    The House Republicans’ bill seeks to end annual and lifetime caps on benefits, as well as to ban “recisions” — by which insurers cancel policies for seemingly arbitrary reasons. The Democrats’ bills share those goals.

    …but I do understand why you would try to float that meme…

  38. Shade Tail says:

    Wayne: I notice that, unlike me, you included absolutely no links to back up your claims. So I reject your premise that the democrats would be just as unreasonable and obstructionist in the minority.

    Pete: If you’d look just one more post further up, you’d see that he already posted that proof.

  39. anjin-san says:

    unless the Democrats summon the cajones

    Don’t hold your breath. The only Democrat with a real pair is Howard Dean, and the rest of the Democrats get very nervous around him because he is NFS.

  40. First responder says:

    First, the answer to your question is Yes. John Cole has it exactly right. The noise machine has gotten so prolific that it drowns out virtually all good legislation. The Lily Ledbetter Act is a rare example but even that got vetoed thanks to the Noise Machine’s ability to keep attention away from stuff like that.

    As for your question about health care, I don’t think it’s quite right. I tend to think of an Omnibus as a bill covering several subjects, whereas the Health Care Bill was one subject.

    Certainly what you raise is accurate — it would have been harder for Republicans to oppose the individual pieces than the whole thing.

    And the reason the Dems didn’t do it that way (initially, although they may fall back to it) is because the risk of any piece failing is grave from a policy — not poltiical – standpoint.

    That is, if you care about effective policy passing only parts of the bill are not an option.

    Specifically, if you are starting from the premise that single-payer or expanding Medicare-for-all are off the table, and that you are trying to preserve private insurance, then you basically have to end up with the bill they had.

    The reason is that if you want to end the practice of insurers banning people for pre-existing conditions and recissions (which is the most popular part), you have to also pass a mandate both to prevent people from gaming the system (only buying insurance after they get sick, therefore bankrupting the insurers) and to get healthy people into the risk pool to counter-balance the sick people who would be joining.

    Basically, if you pass the popular part, without the unpopular part, you cause premiums to go through the roof or you allow the insurers to jack rates so high on pre-existing conditions as to make the legislation meaningless.

    So let’s say you pass the end to pre-existing conditions and manage to get the mandate passed, well now you have to also pass subsidies to help people afford those premiums. That’s really expensive, but if it fails as its own piece, you’ve just required people who can’t afford it to buy insurance.

    So let’s say you manage to pass the subsidies as an individual piece, well now you have to decide how to pay for it. And you aren’t likely to get a majority for a stand alone bill to, say, reduce overpayments to Medicare Advantage and increase taxes on either the wealthy or on expensive insurance plans, so you’ve probably just added trillions to the deficit (like when Bush passed the Medicare Part D Rx benefit).

    And even if you manage to get all those individual pieces passed, there’s still the problem of how to sustain it all without finding ways to slow the rate of growth of health spending, so you need to pass a bill to do things like save money through studying what treatments work and what don’t (which is vehemently opposed by PhRMA and medical equipment manufacturers).

    The bottom line is that if only some of the pieces passed, but others didn’t, you could have an epic policy failure on your hands – like raising everyone’s premiums through the roof or requiring people to buy insurance without helping them afford it.

    That’s why people who care about the impact of legislation on people’s lives lump all this stuff together rather than risk the consequences of passing only some pieces. (and, again, a health care bill that addresses our healh care system in a variety of ways is very different from an Omnibus bill that tries to tackle a lot of different subjects at once).

  41. Wayne says:

    John S
    You understand that invoking cloture cuts off the filibuster and allows the bill to be voted on. Not allowing cloture to be invoked is being obstructionist.

    Therefore the numbers and the link you mention shows that the Democrats are more likely to be obstructionist than the Republicans. The Republicans after all allowed the filibuster to be cut off and far more bills to be voted on.

    Stimulus bill? You mean the one no Republican read and very few Dems read before voting on it? The one with amendments that stunk so badly that the Democrat Senator that put in one of the amendments tried to deny it? Putting in one good amendment with a 1000 bad ones don’t make a good bill.

    AIP
    Allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines is supported by both sides. How is that a concession?

    Listening to ideas and turning it down is not a concession. Maybe he will adopt some but he hasn’t yet. Trusting what Obama says is foolish. He changes what he say very often. When he met with the Reps just a week or two ago, he stated he read and knew about all the Republican ideas and consider them. However he brushed off why he didn’t incorporated any of them in the bill. Now he wants to listen. Probably nothing but political posturing.

  42. Wayne says:

    Re “In just the last two session of Congress (110th,111th) cloture has been invoked a staggering 99 times. The most the Democrats ever invoked cloture in a session of Congress during this period was 34 during the 109th”

    The Republicans who were in the minority didn’t obstruct a staggering 99 times compare to 34 when the Democrats were the minority. Those obstructionist Democrats.

    Yes I know it basically the same post but I had to rub it in. I wondering if this is solid proof for John S since he screw up and got the Party in a sense reversed.

  43. David says:

    Wow, Wayne certainly isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. There is no such thing as “not allowing cloture”, there is either a cloture vote and then the final vote, or just the final vote without cloture. The GOP is certainly obstructing things by continuing to filibuster uncontroversial bills and nominees.

  44. Wayne says:

    Re “There is no such thing as “not allowing cloture”,”

    Wow David aren’t you a bright one. If more than 40 Senator don’t vote for cloture then cloture is not invoke. In other words they don’t allowed cloture.

    What do you call it when they vote on cloture (to end the debate) and a Senator votes “No”? What do you call it when they vote on cloture and it fails?
    Obviously you are confused about what “cloture” is. Here read up on it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloture

    You lift out some options on the voting process. There is also a cloture vote and it fails with later votes on cloture or the final bill. There is a possibility of no vote for cloture and no vote on the final bill.

  45. David says:

    Cloture votes are not required, they are used to break filibusters. More cloture votes = more filibusters. Wayne is either intentionally lying to everyone, or isn’t informed enough to join the conversation.

  46. Wayne says:

    David
    If the minority were being true obstructionist they would not vote for cloture.

    Re “More cloture votes = more filibusters”

    Not necessarily true. A so call “filibuster” can end by the majority reaching a agreement with the minority or the minority deciding to end it because they are tired, outside political pressure to end the debate, or other reasons.

    John S didn’t use the total number of cloture votes but the number of successful cloture votes for his argument. His argument was weak in the first place but he missed up, so I threw it back in his face.

    Your statement of “There is no such thing as “not allowing cloture” was clearly wrong.

    It also indicated that you were backing John S statement. So take you uninformed and lame attempt at spin, broke ass home. Because your attempt of saying “will we really meant this” is falling flat.