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I threaten you with a continuation of current trends!

Of all the Republican threats meant to derail health-care reform, this has to be the emptiest:

While a bill-signing ceremony in the Rose Garden would provide at least a short-term boost to a beleaguered president, Republicans have made clear that the legislative procedure Democrats are using to avoid another filibuster would so anger them that they would not cooperate on other major initiatives this year.

“If they jam through health care,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, then Democrats will have “poisoned the well” on other issues. He was interviewed Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Stimulus didn't get a single Republican vote in the House. The Gang of Six didn't secure Republican votes for health-care reform. Bob Corker won't support the financial regulation plan that he admits has been fundamentally transformed to address many of his concerns. Graham himself has declared cap-and-trade dead in the Senate. If Graham doesn't think the well is already poisoned, then I dare him to take a sip from it.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 15, 2010; 5:08 PM ET
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And yet, Lindsay Graham is, to this day, the single national Republican figure that's actually told the truth about any single thing since Obama was elected.

Posted by: aprilglaspie | March 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Graham's already taken a sip of something but it's not from the well.

Posted by: leoklein | March 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse


That's not true; Sarah Palin has told the truth too.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 15, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

That's funny Ezra - and so true! First thing that occurred to me when I heard the Republican threats too.

Also, why are McConnell, Rove, and all the other Republicans who appeared to the Sunday talk shows so concerned about Democratic poll prospects for November? If they really thought passing healthcare would doom the Democrats, they would be standing aside and secretly cheering the Democrats on, not continuing to obstruct and promising to use every tool in the box to slow down or stop its passage.

The truth is that they're terrified that the Democrats will get this accomplishment under their belt, the public will love it once it's in force, and they will have been on the wrong side of history once more as they have with Social Security, Medicare, and most other significant legislation in this nation's history.

Posted by: sambam | March 15, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

If its the case that we're fortunate enough to lose John McCain this year, Lindsey Graham is obviously going to inherit the John McCain chair of fake bipartisan and media darling. Godspeed unto him.

Why anyone on the Democrat side listens to these goobers from places like South Carolina or wherever in the Confederacy they come from bewilders me.

Lindsey Graham is the worst kind of politician, a phony. I would that the Republicans purge all these sort of clowns for authentic right-wingers like Jim Inhofe.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | March 15, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the non-emptiest threat is a court challenge.

I have yet to hear of any precedent for the House taking a single vote to pass two bills, only one of which is approved by the Senate, and the President nevertheless signing one of those bills into law. Maybe we haven’t heard of such a precedent because it does not exist.

Have you heard of a precedent for this, Ezra?

Posted by: ferrylodge | March 15, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

There WILL be a Constitutional challenge to Obamacare if it is purportedly signed into law.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 15, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse


If the Dems were proposing to borrow another trillion dollars and dump the cash directly into the Pacific Ocean, I would hope that the GOP would object strongly even if they thought letting the Dems do so would lead to electoral victory (it's called putting the country before party ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 15, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse


If the Dems were proposing to borrow another trillion dollars and dump the cash directly into the Pacific Ocean, I would hope that the GOP would object strongly even if they thought letting the Dems do so would lead to electoral victory (it's called putting the country before party ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 15, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Ferrylodge, I don't think the situation is exactly as you describe. The Democrats want to amend a bill before it's enacted into law, which would involve the House passing the Senate bill and a reconciliation fix, and the Senate passing the reconciliation fix, and only then the "patched" bill going to the president to sign into law. The question is whether reconciliation can be used to amend a bill that hasn't been signed into law yet, which I don't think is quite as thorny a legal question as one of the houses not passing a bill.

Posted by: btavshanjian | March 15, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

ferrylodge: Each chamber of the legislature has the absolute right both to determine and to be the judge of its own rules and elections; however, the Courts give little credence to statutes enacted when the communications between the two chambers is less than above board (which is not the case, yet). In the case of a statute, it takes all three to tango.

Personally, I believe that legal challenges to the current health care reform bill increase (dramatically) as an increasing number of lawful yet dubious tactics are used for passage: if I were a Justice (and I'm certainly not), I would wonder that if the measure was so popular and so righteous, why would such tactics be needed? That is, I would find if difficult to simply dismiss arguments against the statute and might even find reasons to overturn it. Ultimately -- and perhaps surprisingly -- I don't think that both Roe v. Wade and the current health care reform proposal can stand and my logic is based in no way whatsoever on the abortion issue itself.

Posted by: rmgregory | March 15, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

btavshanjian, I described the situation correctly. Here's the summary that Ezra gave in a previous thread:

"When the House votes on the reconciliation fixes, the Senate bill is passed, even if the Senate hasn't voted on the reconciliation fixes, and even though the House never specifically voted on the Senate bill. It's a circuitous strategy born of necessity. Pelosi doesn't have votes for the Senate bill without the reconciliation package. But the Senate parliamentarian said that the Senate bill must be signed into law before the reconciliation package can be signed into law."

Posted by: ferrylodge | March 15, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen JakeD2 and FastEddie in the same room at the same time? Who are you JakeD2 and what have you done with FastEddie's allcaps?

Also, why isn't Ezra posting anything exceptionally informative today?

My curiosity knows no bounds.

Posted by: slag | March 15, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I only capitalized one word on this thread. You don't think there will be a lawsuit filed if Obamacare is purportedly signed into law?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 15, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

At 6:45, rmgregory said >> if I were a Justice (and I'm certainly not), I would wonder that if the measure was so popular and so righteous, why would such tactics be needed?

Then let us all be glad you're -not- a Justice, as the "concern" you raise is inappropriate for a justice to rule on. The Justices are to examine the legality of the statute, not its popularity nor its "righteousness". Funnily enough, that's a principle that conservatives like to bleat while decrying "activist judges"... right up until there's a statute -they- want overturned.

Posted by: gilroy0 | March 15, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"You don't think there will be a lawsuit filed if Obamacare is purportedly signed into law?"

Of course there will. Republicans love themselves some frivolous lawsuits. Maybe they'll include some evidence indicating that the healthcare reform bill was actually born in Kenya.

Posted by: slag | March 15, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

We'll see if it is a "frivolous" lawsuit.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 15, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

What's frivolous is the "Slaughter Solution" by which Speaker Pelosi wants to enact this thing. As Ezra mentioned earlier today in another thread, the fact that this strategy is "under consideration suggests the House has let its anger at the Senate drive it temporarily insane."

Posted by: ferrylodge | March 15, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else disturbed by the persistent homoerotic/fetish subtext to conservative-right reaction to moderately liberal policies? We now have "teabaggers" concerned about having legislation "shoved down their throats" by an apparently frightening Black man. Is this the loyal opposition or a Tom of Finland fantasy?

Posted by: sparkplug1 | March 15, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

sparkplug1, you must know that the term "teabagger" was invented by opponents of the conservative-right, some of whom like to fling sexual insults. Anyway, don't be such a homophobephobe.

Posted by: ferrylodge | March 15, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I for one do not want this bill.
I think it should be scrapped and start over with equal players on both sides.
I also do not believe we should be combining bills to pass in legislation.

I am (secretly) eager to see this democratic nightmare come to fruition... because if you think you are groaning now, wait until the voters exercise their opinions on election day and again in 2012, and perhaps for a decade of votes.

The bottom line in all of this... THE DEMOCRATS COULD NOT, repeat, COULD NOT, come together and make anything happen in a year on healthcare (or ???) as a party that controlled the House, Senate, and Executive branch.

Voters will remember that they had to use magic tricks, lies, and parlimentary bending of the rules to pass it.

Posted by: GregBoo | March 15, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra: Agreed!

The one thing I'm truly curious about is, will they actually pass it? And will they really also tie student loan reform to the reconciliation bill?

If so, I'll be very, very happy!

Also, I'm sort of wondering if Democrats finally found their voice in this. They're acting as if they're going to push bills thru, threatening the Republicans with forcing them to filibuster popular items, and using parliamentary maneuvers normally used by Republicans to pass bills (the ones being decried as illegal by some commenters here).

I have to say, I'm a bit impressed.

I have to wonder, though. Is this just a temporary phase, or has the prospect of losing so many seats in November (and blowhards/hypocrites like Bayh -- sorry, but he is one -- "retiring"), actually made them realize they had "cojones" and decide to use them?

Posted by: JERiv | March 15, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Not a single Republican in the House voted for the stimulus, yet if it wasn't for three Republicans in the Senate, the thing never would have passed.

Posted by: Bob65 | March 15, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

ferrylodge: I think the term "teabagger" was used first by one or more teabaggers who didn't know the sexual meaning. Then some socialist was all "Ha ha they said teabagger'". Not that I just did any research or anything but it's what I have read and it makes sense. I wouldn't expect the average teabagger type to have heard of the term's sexual practice meaning. In fact it never crossed my mind that straight people knew about it until a couple years ago when a straight coworker used the term. And everyone got it.

Posted by: emjayay | March 16, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

emjayay, I stand corrected. The term was not first applied to the "Tea Party" movement by opponents of the conservative-right. But the teem in combination with a smirk was first applied to the "Tea Party" movement by opponents of the conservative-right. So now we've got that cleared up!

Posted by: ferrylodge | March 16, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

ferrylodge, as a heterosexual male, i can assure you that teabagging is not exclusively a homosexual act. it matters not what is between your partner's legs if your teabags are in their...well, propreity prevents me from finishing thqt sentence.

othwrwise, you are correct. teabaggers called themselves such first, then lefties pointed out the inadvertant innuendo.

Posted by: xnerg | March 16, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks xnerg, I'm aware of that. All the same, the reference to "Tom of Finland" seemed revealing.

Anyways....down with the Slaughter Option!


Posted by: ferrylodge | March 16, 2010 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Lindsey Graham is a RINO and part of the problem. He needs to be voted out.

Posted by: steve90 | March 16, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

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