In 1993, Democratic “centrists” on Capitol Hill helped defeat Hillarycare, believing that their power was unshakable and would be increased by teaching the new President a lesson about who was boss. The Gingrich Revolution was condign punishment for them, though what the rest of us did to deserve it I don’t know.
For Gingrich and his allies, the health care debate wasn’t really about health care: it was about destroying the power of a Democratic President.
It’s not surprising that the Republicans have remembered that lesson, but it’s disappointing that the “centrist” Democrats have forgotten it. This bill is make or break for the Democratic Party, and Harry Reid ought to enforce party discipline on the cloture vote. No on cloture should mean no subcommittee chair, no pork, and no money from the DSCC.
Every Senator should be free to vote his conscience, or his constituents, or his contributors on final passage, and on amendments. But no Democrat should side with the Republicans in denying the President an up-or-down vote on his top priority, which has been a central issue for Democrats going back to Harry Truman.