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Did Republicans use reconciliation for significantly bipartisan bills?

Among the odder arguments Republicans are making against the reconciliation process is that the process should only be used for bipartisan bills, and since they refuse to vote for health-care reform, Democrats can't give their package of fixes an up-or-down vote.

But reconciliation hasn't been limited to bipartisan bills. Here's the recent record: The 1995 Balanced Budget Act was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 52 to 47. The 2001 Bush Tax Cut was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 58 to 33. The 2003 Bush Tax Cut was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 50 to 50, with Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote. The 2005 Deficit Reduction Act was also passed in reconciliation with a 50 to 50 vote and a Cheney intervention. The 2006 Tax Relief Extensions Act was passed in reconciliation. The final vote was 54 to 44. This is as you'd expect: If bills had overwhelming bipartisan majorities, they wouldn't need to go through reconciliation.

As it happens, Republicans controlled the Senate during each and every one of these bills. And they got less votes than Democrats will likely get for the health-care fixes. It's also worth reminding people that it's harder for Democrats to get Republican votes because voters elected a lot more Democrats in the past two elections. Republicans had a number of moderate Democrats who could be brought into a 58-vote majority, and Democrats don't have as many moderate Republicans who can do the same.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 3, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

No moderate Republican would ever vote for a bill that will bankrupt the USA like this bill does.

Barack Obama should listen to Warren Buffet and start over focusing primarily on cost which is the only to overcome the polarizing aspects of Obama & Pelosi's plan to force us into government-run health insurance.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | March 3, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

All minor bills with the exception of the 2001 tax cuts, which 12 Senate Democrats voted for. An inconvenient truth.

Posted by: island1 | March 3, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

“And what I worry about would be you essential­ly have still two cham­bers – the House and the Sen­ate – but you have sim­ply majoritar­i­an ab­so­lute power on ei­ther side, and that's just not what the founders intended” [see http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/02/obama-quotes-on-nuclear-option-in-2005-given-new-scrutiny.html]

That was then-Senator Barack Obama in 2005, railing against majoritarianism. As Byrd and Obama have said (in the past), majoritarianism is bad regardless of which party is attempting it.

Posted by: rmgregory | March 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

For the love of God I wish liberals would stop defending the use of reconciliation for health care reform (defend it in general, but not for this bill). "The HCR bill" will likely pass without reconciliation. If, after the bill has already passed, the GOP wants to filibuster to prevent the removal of the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase, let them do it!

Posted by: erh1103 | March 3, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Forget about whar republicans did in the past, here is what your messiah said about using the majority vote for major bills not very long ago :D

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-flashback-you-need-60-votes-get-something-significant-happen

Posted by: darkskin1977 | March 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"It's also worth reminding people that it's harder for Democrats to get Republican votes because voters elected a lot more Democrats in the past two elections. Republicans had a number of moderate Democrats who could be brought into a 58-vote majority, and Democrats don't have as many moderate Republicans who can do the same."

Man, that's a lame excuse. Or a tortured explanation.

That being said, the Republicans are just throwing everything at healthcare to see if they can stop it. This isn't based on any over-arching principle against reconciliation, just a desire to stop HCR or, failing that, tar it's passage as an unconstitutional outrage and the first step toward tyranny and fascism in the US.

And they are making the argument they are making not because it's correct, but because they don't expect the people who will be influenced (or excited) by such accusations to diligently check the facts.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Balanced Budget Act" "Tax Cuts" "Deficit Reduction" "Tax Relief Extensions" "Health Care Reform"

One of these things is not like the others...

Posted by: cpurick | March 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"And they are making the argument they are making not because it's correct, but because they don't expect the people who will be influenced (or excited) by such accusations to diligently check the facts."

That's one of the many reasons I am no longer a Republican.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 3, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Lomillialor: "'And they are making the argument they are making not because it's correct, but because they don't expect the people who will be influenced (or excited) by such accusations to diligently check the facts.'

"That's one of the many reasons I am no longer a Republican."

Well, I'm glad it's not the only one, because the Democrats do it, too. Most politicians do, anyhow. But there are certainly policy distinctions where the parties are distinctly different.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 3, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@ cpurick "Balanced Budget Act" "Tax Cuts" "Deficit Reduction" "Tax Relief Extensions" "Health Care Reform"

One of these things is not like the others...

That would be true if you weren't intentionally mis-characterizing what is being voted on. Reconciliation will only address some budget matters that are different in the two HCR bills that have PASSED BOTH HOUSES, THE SENATE WITH 60 VOTES. All of the other bills mentioned were passed in their entirety through reconciliation. One of these things is indeed not like the others.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

What Mr. Klein forgot to mention in this article is that the Democrats have controlled the Senate for 35 of the last 55 years. the Democrats have controlled the House for 43 of the last 55 years. It's High Time the Democrats get a BREAK

Posted by: jimkearney19761 | March 3, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@FE007 "No moderate Republican would ever vote for a bill that will bankrupt the USA like this bill does."

Except for 2 rounds of tax cuts, medicare part d, and 2 badly managed wars (one a war of choice), all of which cost or will cost more than HCR and all of which WEREN'T PAID FOR. Obama takes a lot of grief for the taxes in the bill, but the cbo says that HCR actually lowers the deficit over the long term.
Repiglicans are like spoiled kids that eat ice cream (tax cuts) all the time and never eat vegetables (paying for the cuts).

The pattern is familiar. Reagan explodes the deficit. Repiglicans scream about the exploding deficit. Clinton creates a surplus, ham stringing dems ability to enact progressive policies. Bush explodes the deficit, hamstringing dems ability to pull the economy and country out of the depression that Bush and the repiglicans created. Repiglicans scream about deficits that they created. Why should Obama take all the heat to fix the deficit when repiglicans just explode it again?

Weak stuff.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@darkskin1977: FYI. HCR has ALREADY PASSED THE SENATE WITH 60 VOTES. Reconciliation will simply merge the house and senate bills. Inconvenient truth.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@srw3

Enough with the Homocrat talking points!

... and speaking of Clinton surplus, you should read the following

http://www.craigsteiner.us/articles/16

Posted by: darkskin1977 | March 3, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Earth to conservatives complaining about reconciliation: the Senate already passed comprehensive health care with 60 votes!!!!

And for god's sakes, stop whining. When Bush, Delay, Lott, Hastert et al were ramming legislation through Congress in the middle of the night using reconciliation and every other trick in the book, all we heard from you guys was "elections have consequences."

Well, guess what, the shoe's on the other foot now. Barack Obama won the most votes in presidential history running on a platform of health care reform and Democrats in the House and Senates won huge majorities doing the same, so stop complaining that they don't represent the will of the people.

Posted by: jbentley4 | March 3, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"What Mr. Klein forgot to mention in this article is that the Democrats have controlled the Senate for 35 of the last 55 years. the Democrats have controlled the House for 43 of the last 55 years."

I know. It only took repiglicans 8 years to add as much to the debt as all previous administrations COMBINED. They work fast.

Both explosions of the deficit and debt happened during repiglican administrations (Reagan, Bush, Bush the younger.)

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@RMgregory "obama-quotes-on-nuclear-option-in-2005-given-new-scrutiny"

I would note that Obama ISN'T SUGGESTING THE NUCLEAR OPTION (eliminating the filibuster) and that HCR has already passed the senate with 60 votes. Using reconciliation to adjust budget parts of HCR is what reconciliation was designed for.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@ darkskin1977
Resorting to name calling is the last refuge of the incompetent. And I have nothing against repeating things that are demonstrably true. Repiglicans passed lots of legislation that exploded the deficit during the Bush administration by cutting taxes and increasing spending without paying for it. If this is incorrect, cite facts that refute it. Otherwise, run along and play with your blocks and leave policy discussions to adults.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ignorant right-wing d-bag:

"Barack Obama should listen to Warren Buffet and and start over focusing primarily on cost..."

Warren Buffet:

"If it was a choice today between plan A, which is what we've got, or plan B, the Senate bill, I would vote for the Senate bill."

On this very blog, no less.

Posted by: antontuffnell | March 3, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Yet another false argument from Klein (this is getting tiresome). First off, during the election, the Ds complained of the way Rs had been running things and doing business. Obama ran on CHANGE. So when the argument becomes 'Well the Rs did it', does that not strike everyone as somewhat hollow? Secondly, none of the bills cited where the Rs used this measure was as far ranging and redefining or impacted as many people as this HCR does. Apple meet orange. Finally, it matters not what Rs or Ds said in the past...it matters what they say during the next election cycle. If the Ds use reconciliation to force this upon the public which does not want it, no amount of mealy-mouthed cover like this post of putrid pablum is going to protect them from the R attack line.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 3, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

Curious that both the following appear in the same post:

"Resorting to name calling is the last refuge of the incompetent."

and "Repiglicans passed lots of legislation..."

Just sayin.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 3, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

amaranthpa, I was referring to individual commenters on this thread. repiglicans and dumbocrats does not count as name calling IMHO.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

... and calling a HomoCrat a HomoCrat is name calling, that's just precious!

Posted by: darkskin1977 | March 3, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

amaranthpa, I would note that darkskin1977's post was exclusively namecalling without addressing the substance of the post, hence the incompetent reference. Since, he cannot refute that republicans (happy now?) exploded the deficit, doubled the national debt in 8 years, and drove the economy into the ditch. Now repiglicans are hypocritically criticizing dems for not getting the economy out of the hole that they created fast enough. Instead s/he distracts with gratuitous homophobic smears.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

amaranthpa, you are a genius. The Democrats are only pointing out the hypocrisy and lies of the Republicans on this issue because THE REPUBLICANS WERE CLAIMING IT'S NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. There is nothing wrong with using reconciliation, and the Democrats never said it was when the Republicans used it. So, to review: Republicans attack using lies, and Democrats defend pointing out hypocrisy. Clearly, in your massive mind, this means the Democrats are at fault. But if you want to act like using reconciliation is wrong because... well, just because!, knock yourself out.

Posted by: callingalltoasters | March 3, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

'Homocrat' and 'your messiah' not OK. 'repiglican' and 'dumbocrat' OK. Sorry but your logic eludes me. My point is that arguments carry more weight when those making them don't stoop to the level of the lowest common denominator.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 3, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

amaranthpa says - Secondly, none of the bills cited where the Rs used this measure was as far ranging and redefining or impacted as many people as this HCR does.

This could be true in that the Bush tax cuts were mostly for the rich.

But nobody is going to pass HCR through reconciliation. They don't need to. HCR has already passed the Senate (with 60 votes) and the house. The Senate bill just needs a couple budgeting tweaks. And since budgeting tweaks are EXACTLY what reconciliation is for, I say go for it.

Posted by: nisleib | March 3, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Wait, "Dumbocrats" doesn't count as name calling but "Homocrats" does? That's a pretty weak distinction. "Repiglicans" is no better than when conservatives call the President "Barry" or come up with some alteration of "Democrats". It's all pointless name calling.

Other than that I think you often make good points, but you do drop some name calling pretty fequently.

Posted by: MosBen | March 3, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@ amaranthpa
"My point is that arguments carry more weight when those making them don't stoop to the level of the lowest common denominator."

My point is that darkskin1977 is not engaging in any kind of argument, just name calling. Let me state it again.

Republicans doubled the debt in 8 years and exploded the annual deficits while they were in power. Now repiglicans have suddenly found balanced budget religion, since a Dem is in the whitehouse and dems control congress. Convenient, no? The hypocrisy continues with repiglicans (and here it is deserved) want to eliminate the estate tax without saying where the budget should be cut or other taxes raised to make this budget neutral. Some things never change.
And "'your messiah'"? Where did that come from? And I do think that homophobic slurs are qualitatively different from dumbocrat or repiglican.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib

"But nobody is going to pass HCR through reconciliation. They don't need to. HCR has already passed the Senate (with 60 votes) and the house. The Senate bill just needs a couple budgeting tweaks. And since budgeting tweaks are EXACTLY what reconciliation is for, I say go for it."

If Senate bill just needs a couple of budgeting tweaks, why on earth is Pelosi even talking about a house vote, should they do these tweaks in the conference committee and be done with it?

Posted by: darkskin1977 | March 3, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Watching the coverage of the health care debate, I keep seeing Democratic officials, strategists, and various liberal pundits arguing that in response to the GOP messaging about Dems "jamming health care reform through on a procedural trick," the Dems, instead of saying "the GOP used reconciliation, too," need to talk about "giving health care reform an up or down vote."

But isn't even that already ceding ground unnecessarily in the messaging wars?

Health care reform has already had an up or down vote. Every member of Congress, including every single Republican, has already voted on it. It passed. In both houses. It got so many votes in the Senate -- won so overwhelmingly -- that the GOP couldn't even filibuster it. And every member of the House is about to get to vote on it a second time. Reconciliation is only being used to make small modifications to legislation that has already passed.

Shouldn't that be the Dems' message? "We're not using using reconciliation to pass health care reform. The conversation isn't even about passing health care reform. Health care reform has already passed, in both houses. Every member of Congress has voted on it. Every single one, Democratic and Republican. And it passed. In both houses. Even over a Republican filibuster. How much more of the American people's time would the GOP like to waste, re-voting on legislation that has already passed?"

Shouldn't some version of "health care reform has already passed" be the first sentence out of the mouths of every Democrat in every public appearance on the subject?

Posted by: barnninny | March 3, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

MosBen I make a distinction between characterizing political parties in satirical and even demeaning ways and attacking other posters with personal invective. I make a distinction between name calling when making a substantive point and gratuitous name calling. It is perhaps a small distinction, but I would note that in the 3 posts that darkskin1977 has made, there is not one substantive point made. To wit his last post "... and calling a HomoCrat a HomoCrat is name calling, that's just precious!" is another illustration. I do find homocrat more offensive than dumbocrat. Maybe a distinction without a difference. Anyway thanks for the compliment.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

srw3, I think homophobic slurs are certainly different that "Repiglican", and certainly worse. Still, it's a difference of degree, not kind. While I may think "Homocrat" is worse than whatever you've said, "Repiglican" is still name calling, even if the name is to some degree more benign.

darkskin1977, in another thread I called you out on that "Homocrat" nonsense. You asked for forgiveness because you weren't a native English speaker or something like that. Well, here you are, saying it again, and also posting using a varied vocabulary. There's no reason to use the term "Homocrats", so stop it.

As to your question, going through conference comittee would require 60 votes in the Senate again to pass the final bill. As Republicans are so fond of pointing out that they've got 41 votes now, it's really not an option. So instead the plan is pass HCR by passing the Senate Bill whole cloth in the House and then putting an appropriate sidecare of modifications through reconciliation.

Posted by: MosBen | March 3, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@ darkskin1977 "If Senate bill just needs a couple of budgeting tweaks, why on earth is Pelosi even talking about a house vote, should they do these tweaks in the conference committee and be done with it?"

Hey actual argument! Uninformed, but it is an improvement.
The house hasn't passed the senate bill yet, hence the vote.
If the republicans (happy now?) were not obstructing the process using procedural tactics, then the house and senate bills could go to conference and be merged. Then both houses would have to vote on the merged bill. But since the senate republicans refuse to allow an up or down vote on anything* the house passing the senate bill and amending the budget related parts using reconciliation becomes necessary.
This has been another lesson from high school civics.

*(note the 124 day delay and the need for a 60 vote super majority for the vote on a judge who passed 99-0. So a combination of 41 senators kept this nomination off the floor for 4 months and then supported the judge just for the hell of it, because they could, apparently. This is what I mean by procedural obstruction and delay, and why I use repiglican. If I could work hypocrite into republican, I would.)

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@ darkskin1977 "If Senate bill just needs a couple of budgeting tweaks, why on earth is Pelosi even talking about a house vote, should they do these tweaks in the conference committee and be done with it?"

Because the Republicans in the Senate have decided that the best ellectoral strategy is to block everything, no matter how small.

Posted by: nisleib | March 3, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I think we're missing the point of this article, the fact that Mr. Klein used "less" instead of "fewer" in the 2nd sentence of the last paragraph.

"And they got less votes than Democrats..."

For shame!

Posted by: enkay1 | March 3, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

If it's just a few minor budget tweaks then how come Pelosi hasn't gone ahead and voted on it? Why is there all of this talk about them not having the votes when they hold a clear majority in the House?

Posted by: vsatt | March 3, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, what you failed to mention in your article is the fact that, as all the bills cited inidicate, the reconciliation bill was passed to resolve budget issues when they were unable to get sufficient support from the other party to pass a budget related bill. It would be a stretch beyond reach to put the health care bill into the same category as a budget bill even if it does cost more than any bill I can remember in the last 40 years.

How come the fact that the spending starts almost immediately and the benefits don't kick in until several years down the road is rarely mentioned? I think most people rightfully understand there is something very fishy going on here, and they don't like it.

Posted by: gwoodward14 | March 3, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Above and beyond all other arguments is the outsanding fact that the majority of Americans do not want this health care bill and the Democrats are determined to shove it down our throats whether we want it or not. What happened to government by the people and for the people?

Posted by: gwoodward14 | March 3, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Republicans doubled the debt in 8 years and exploded the annual deficits while they were in power. Now repiglicans have suddenly found balanced budget religion, since a Dem is in the whitehouse and dems control congress. Convenient, no? The hypocrisy continues with repiglicans (and here it is deserved) want to eliminate the estate tax without saying where the budget should be cut or other taxes raised to make this budget neutral. Some things never change.


Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I've gotta say srw3 this is the FIRST TIME EVER I saw you use the name "REPUBLICAN'S" although i will note you then followed it up with about 3-4 slurs or whatever you want to call it. And the old line that "MOM, he did it too" is really lame, IMHO.

how much did that pain you to type it correctly?


lowering yourself to the wingnuts from the right who end up posting on here because it seemingly gets moved to the front page doesn't help your arguments. It only wants those that want to have a serious discussion gloss over them as partisan hackery just as almost everyone glosses over what they have to say.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 3, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

@gwoodward14:
Americans may not want THIS bill, but they want A bill. And polling has well proven that they want most of the elements of this bill.
And, given the Republican's history this past year, if the process were restarted, it is guaranteed that no bill will be passed (nor any of the jobs bills than need to be considered urgently).

Secondly, as commented often above (and not repeated enough by Ezra and others), HCR will NOT be passed by reconciliation. Just some fixes, all of which are budget related.

Finally about "spending starts almost immediately and the benefits [only after] several years," some of the benefits are immediate, such as the creation of a high-risk pool to offer insurance to those who cannot presently get insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Other requirements, such as the ability to keep children on their parents insurance, and others I can't remember.

Posted by: nomadwolf | March 3, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Its pretty funny to see people try to argue that the Bush tax cuts are closer to the intent of reconciliation than health care reform.

Reconciliation was created to reconcile the differences between bills that reduce federal debt and were already passed by both houses. The Bush tax cuts increased the debt by trillions of dollars and was passed through reconciliation entirely. HCR will reduce the debt by several hundred billion dollars and it has already been approved by both houses.

Passing a few tweaks and reducing the deficit? or passing a huge bill and increasing the deficit. The defenses of Republican hypocrisy in these comments are painfully laughable.

Posted by: zosima | March 4, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Good post, Ezra! I recently heard Brian Kilmeade on "Brian and The Judge" list a number of recon votes that had large majorities and I was naturally suspicious.

Posted by: piniella | March 4, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

This was a good post. And a good, oft' overlooked point about the shortage of willing Republican participants due to the Democratic near-sweep of the purple states in '06 and '08.
As for all of the haters who drone on about "another false argument from Klein (this is getting tiresome).", Why are you here? Consider this: reading ezra isn't like hearing the latest Lady Gaga song on the radio in the cab for the 7th time today. You have to actively seek out his collumn. Then you have to read it. Then you have to judge and comment on it. If this is growing so tiresome, why not just pass on that whole process?
Finally for all of you small-minded bigots who think "homocrat" is insulting, it is...to you. The words you are combining are "homosexual" which is a perfectly legitimate form of existence, and not insulting in the slightest even if it is inaccurately applied to at least 90% of the audience; and Democrat, which is a political party who, in spite of their recent string of bad headlines, are still the party in power, as chosen by the people of this nation, through an electoral process (as opposed to a supreme court decision) by an overwhelming majority. You don't have to like what we believe. Thats fine. but when you try to make insults out of two words which are not insulting, you demonstrate your own level of lameness. Not ours.

Posted by: elijah24 | March 4, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Do the rest of your job and name all the lying GOPERS who lied on the floor of the Senate like Mitch McConnell. Call them by their names. Expose the lying trash. They just get away with lie after lie because of MSM like the Washington Post who just published Orrin Hatch's editorial that was full of lies about healthcare..

the US media is a disgrace

Posted by: Barbi520 | March 4, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, you're dreaming if you think any Republican is going to vote in reconcilliation for any of the Democratic healthcare "fixes".

Posted by: RobT1 | March 4, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

did he imply otherwise?

Posted by: elijah24 | March 4, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

srw3 said "Republicans doubled the debt in 8 years and exploded the annual deficits while they were in power. Now repiglicans have suddenly found balanced budget religion, since a Dem is in the whitehouse and dems control congress. Convenient, no?"

Technically incorrect since Rs were never in complete control of Congress for the 8 GWB years. But that is not really the point. I am ok with a group that lost its way finding it again. If your goal in life is to hold people to doing things the wrong way (e.g., you screwed up before increasing the deficit, don't even think of learning from past mistakes), you are rooting for the wrong things. Ds, Rs and Is should all be happy about fiscal responsibility (even if it is new found and incredibly convenient by some and probably disengenuous in many cases). In any case, is your goal to emulate the Rs and their mistakes or try to do better?

The blame game works great for campaigns. When it comes to actually doing work however, it is a cancer to getting things done. When we discuss pending legislation, what people previously did or didn't do or said or didn't say does not matter because that has no bearing on the legislation at hand. After HCR passes, THEN we can get in to it because the campaign effectively begins the moment after the vote.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 4, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

elijah24 asks me "Why are you here?"

As I have said previously, many of my progressive friends have recommended Klein as someone who is intelligent, informative and coherent. Being a fairly open minded person, I don't have a problem reading or commenting on viewpoints that differ from mine. I find that there are actually times I can learn something. This post is not one of those times and is somewhat disappointing. If the only sound you seek to hear is your own echo, you are limiting yourself.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 4, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ok, amaranthpa, but your post implies that the echo-chamber is all Ezra is. If, in your opinion, that is the case, why not let it go?

Posted by: elijah24 | March 4, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Why not let it go? Where do you suggest I turn for someone who can coherently articulate progressivism better than him? My hope is that perhaps Klein will opt for quality over quantity as there are a number of his posts that are good (even if I disagree with him). The problem I have with him is that a post like this does nothing to explain, promote or defend a progressive viewpoint or meaningfully add anything to the healthcare debate. And posts like this are, IMO, much too frequent. This is a 'preaching to the choir' kinda post, intellectually lazy, and most importantly contributes nothing of substance to any debate or discussion. Other posts he has demonstrate to me he can do better, which is what I would like him to do. That's why.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 4, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"Technically incorrect since Rs were never in complete control of Congress for the 8 GWB years."
==
Well thats odd. Maybe my math is wrong, but in the 107th Congress (2001-2003), control of the Senate went back and fourth between the two parties due to death, and party change, but was basically a 50/50 split, broken by VP Cheney. The house was red by a count of 223-209.
The 108th congress was 51-48 GOP in the Senate, and 225-207 in the House.
and the 109th congress was red by a score of 53-46 in the Senate and a whopping 230-193 in the House.
Are you using the same math to claim Bush never had control of both houses, that your side uses to say that the congressional minority represents the majority of the country today? Or that Bush won the 2000 election by...y'know...being elected?

Posted by: elijah24 | March 4, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Amaranthpa, I don't know of many people who can express it better than him. That said, I also think he does opt for quality over quantity, but I don't think every blog has to be in defense of idiology. Ezra's forte' is his wonkish understanding of policy and government. I think a case can be made that he is one of moste effective teachers of policy and legislative, executive, and electoral process. Those subjects may not be what you are in the mood for on a given day, but I think he would be remiss if he put that tallent to waste.

Posted by: elijah24 | March 4, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Are you using the same math to claim Bush never had control of both houses..."

No. I am using the math which does not exclude the years in which Dems controlled congress while GWB was president. That would include the 110th congress (and at times the 107th as you mentioned but omitting the Jeffords defection in June 2001).

"Ezra's forte' is his wonkish understanding of policy and government. I think a case can be made that he is one of moste effective teachers of policy and legislative, executive, and electoral process."

If you want to call this an example of teaching legislative process, be my guest. When my kids fight and one says "well, he hit me first", does that make him an effective teacher of childhood behavior? But to each his own i guess.

Posted by: amaranthpa | March 4, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I actually did mention Jeffords defection. I just didn't call him by name: "control of the Senate went back and fourth between the two parties due to death, and party change"
As for the policy stuff, I'm just saying you wont always like what Ezra writes. some of it you won't agree with, other times, it just won't be the type of blog you are in the mood to read. I just get tired of people whining about Ezra and Cilizza on their comment pages. If people don't like what they have to say, find someone who says what you want to hear. Thats what most people do. In your case, I might have lept to hasty judgment, but that was how you came off. to me.

Posted by: elijah24 | March 4, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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