Andrew Sullivan gets a pathetic whine from a Senate Dem chief of staff:
100% of Senate Democrats support healthcare reform (all 59 of them), but because of the antiquated, undemocratic filibuster rule, which is being used as a daily weapon by Senate Republicans, we aren’t able to pass it. As a Chief of Staff to a Democratic Senator, I can’t tell you how dispiriting it is to read stuff like what you wrote–and which I read on other weblogs and hear from my friends…
I understand the anger at not passing healthcare reform–hell, I feel it, too–but folks’ anger should be focused on 1) the tool that is being used to obstruct passage, and 2) those who are using the tool! There needs to be a movement to change this rule–and believe me, it won’t be easy (it’s my understanding it takes 67 votes to change Senate rules)–but you can play an important role in helping folks understand the need to do so. However, calling us a “useless bunch of disorganized morons and cowards” because of our inability to reach 60 votes–a very difficult goal to reach when you don’t have a single Republican willing to support you–is neither fair nor accurate.
This is completely disingenuous. Reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered; debate is cut off after 20 hours. If 59 Senate Democrats really support health care reform, they could use the reconciliation vehicle from last year, work closely with House Dems to write good amendments to it, and send it to the House. The House could then pass the reconciliation vehicle together with the Senate bill, and send both to the President.
Yes, the filibuster is terrible, and yes, the Republicans are awful. but the Democrats can now do this all by themselves through the reconciliation vehicle. And they could also add in Obama’s proposed tax on finance executive salaries.
But what have we heard from Senate Democrats? Only from Lieberman and Bayh and the moral cretin Dianne Feinstein that we need to “go slower.” Sorry, guys. Andrew is right: you are a “useless bunch of disorganized morons and cowards.”