Free Markets, Free People

Who is the reactionary now? (update)

Ezra Klein has this to say about “the process” now under fire by Republicans:

So far in the health-care debate, Republicans have attacked the legitimacy of private negotiations, parochial deal making, the budget reconciliation process, self-executing rules, the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis, and even the constitutionality of the legislation. It’s a good theory: Make people hate Washington and mistrust the legislative process and you’ll make people hate and mistrust what emerges from that process.

But it’s also dangerous. As Republicans well know, private negotiations between lawmakers, deals that advantage a state or a district, and a base level of respect for the CBO’s scores have long been central to the lawmaking progress. As the parties have polarized, reconciliation and self-executing rules (like deem and pass) have become more common — and the GOP’s own record, which includes dozens of reconciliation bills and self-executing rules, proves it.

As anyone can tell who has read this far, Klein is championing the status quo. Private negotiations, not transparency. Deals that advantage a state or district, not equal treatment under the law, parliamentary tricks vs. up or down votes as well as gaming the CBO and blowing off constitutional questions.

And his defense? Well the GOP’s done it too.

His defense is all about the process and how the process has worked in the past and should be left alone.  What did he say?  Attacking tha misbegotten process is a good “theory” but practically it’s “dangerous”.

Is it?

Do you find it at all ironic that the group – “progressives” – who were just recently championing transparency are now defending a completely opaque process with private closed-door negotiations and special deals isn’t it?

Klein goes on:

The GOP’s answer to this is that health-care reform is important. Stopping the bill is worth pulling out all the stops. And I’m actually quite sympathetic to this view. Outcomes are, in fact, more important than process. But once you’ve taken the stops out, it’s hard to put them back in. Democrats will launch the very same attacks when they’re consigned to the minority, and maybe think up a few new ones of their own.

Pulling out all the stops, as any fair observer would note, is certainly not at all confined to the GOP side (I swear, given my time observing and writing about them, “progressives” or liberals, whatever label they prefer today, are truly irony impaired). On the Democrat side we’ve seen gaming the CBO, leaving out critical health care legislation (doc fix) to make the numbers look better, stupid accounting tricks like double counting, locking the opposing party out of the process and then claiming they’re the “party of no” and parliamentary tricks that would make a banana republic blush.

And then there’s deception like this:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Undercuts it?  It destroys it (139 billion deficit reduction over 10 years v. 200 to 250 billion pay out to doctors over 10 years : net -61 to -111 billion even with their numbers over 10 years).

If “pulling out all the stops” means cleaning up a process like that, I say pull em out even further. And if it comes back to bite the GOP, so be it. It would most likely end up being a good thing.  Because it would probably mean they’re trying the same sort of crap the Democrats are trying to pull of now.

UPDATE: Ed Morrisey is reporting the memo cited by Politico could be a hoax.  He’s apparently verified that it exists and has been seen by sources of his on the hill, but Democrats are denying it’s theirs.  That said, I listened to Mary Landrieu (D-LA) tell Greta Van Susteren essentially the same thing the purported memo says, last night on Fox, i.e. there would most likely be a permanent legislative solution offered for the “doc fix” soon (i.e. the cut will be repealed).



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11 Responses to Who is the reactionary now? (update)

  • Because it was never about how it was done for these tools, it was always about who was doing it – and at the time, it was that spawn of Satan George W. Bush.
    And since they conveniently ignore any instances where the gripes were AGAINST whatever shinnanegans the GOP was performing, except to maybe come by and tell you it was nice to see you were finally being reasonable….

  • Klein is such .. a tool

  • It’s another testament to how badly we got screwed by George Bush’s Republicans that moral-equivalence fools like Klein have as much ammunition as they do.

    It’s bad enough that we have progressives/liberals/leftists/whatever-the-hell-they-want-to-be-called-this-week with complete amnesia about things like turning nominations for the Supreme Court into a circus with the Bork and Thomas hearings. Seeing the Democrats get away with that, and knowing that the media was  in the tank for the left and more than willing to help them, the Republicans learned the wrong lesson. The establishment Republicans thought their best response was to try and game the system the same as the Democrats.

    Of course, they weren’t very good at it. They never got anything out of it except new ways to give into Democrats and get programs like federalization of education and Medicare Rx. If they had actually used gimmicks to get something valuable, such as some kind of significant spending cut, I might have been more understanding. Instead, they allowed themselves to be co-opted into a game where the Democrats and the media set all the rules. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    So now they’re paying the price. Media hacks and imbecilic political science professors meet every point about shenanigans with “Republicans do it too! See, your guys are bad, bad, bad! Our guys are just responding the only way they can!”, completely ignoring the scale of what the Democrats are doing or their role in the original subversion of the process. The typical citizen, who isn’t up on the details and doesn’t understand the scale, often does not then have any real basis to judge who it worse or whether a particular offense is worth getting upset about. Which is what the left likes, because then they can go about their subversion with less pushback. And incidentally gain the ability to soothe any residual conscience they might have by convincing themselves that their side isn’t that bad.

  • Note Politico has pulled the document because there are doubts it’s authentic.  Another GOP dirty trick?
    But the process — finding ways to use rules to your advantage, deals, back room negotiations…it is disingenuous of anyone who understands politics to suggest that will ever go away.   And in fact those who study politics would say that removing all that, besides being impossible, would be very bad.  Right now the GOP is trying cheap populism to attack everything they also do, and know they will do again.  To call them out on it is accurate.  To pretend we could suddenly have a different world shows a lack of understanding of politics — or perhaps it’s just disingenuous, since McQ is known to deal more with trying to promote “memes” than actually understanding reality.

    • The process isn’t Constitutional, regardless of WHO is using it.  You don’t care though.

    • To pretend we could suddenly have a different world…

      Isn’t that what your fair haired boy in the White House sold the nation on in his campaign for the big seat?
      You’re not saying that Obama doesn’t understand politics or is disingenuous are you?

    • Well, Scott, I doubt it could be much of a dirty trick if Landrieu is talking about the “doc fix”.   We do not need a memo to know that this “doc fix” has to be passed.  Or, how soon do you want grandma standing outside the doctor’s office because he no longer takes Medicare.  Without a fix, this could be the proverbial snowball rolling downhill as doctors scramble out of Medicare.
      Along these lines, you may have noticed Walgreen’s in Washington State has announced they are no longer taking new Medicare patients because they lost  money filling 90% of the prescriptions.  Of course, one way to save lots of money is to drive al, the doctors away.  Maybe that has been the idea all along.

  • Billy Hollis – It’s another testament to how badly we got screwed by George Bush’s Republicans that moral-equivalence fools like Klein have as much ammunition as they do.

    I have little but contempt for the GOP, but I will say that their sins under Bush, Lott, and Hastert were more of incompetence and stupidity than the outright corruption and despotism we see with the democrat filth running the show these days.  Please understand that I’m not claiming that the GOP was (or is) pure as the driven snow.  Far from it: I’m confident that many of them would try the same tricks the dems are pulling now if the shoe was on the other foot and they were tantalizing, maddening inches away from passing some longtime centerpiece of the GOP platform.  However, the moral equivalence argument made by Klein and other libs cuts no ice with me.  It’s like trying to rationalize / excuse Al Capone and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre because Eliot Ness carried a gun and played fast-and-loose with the rules.  The fact is that the brazen sins committed by the GOP exist mostly in the deranged, pathologically dishonest brains of libs.

    At any rate, as McQ notes, the democrats were supposed to be oh-so-ethical and oh-so-transparent and The Annointed One was supposed to set a new, post-partisan tone in DC by the sheer magnitude of his cool intellect, soothing, post-racial presence, and awesome people skills.  Instead, it’s business as usual, and the libs are fine with that.  Like looker says, “it was never about how it was done for these tools, it was always about who was doing it.” cf. the left and the Soviet Union v. the left and nazi Germany (or America, for that matter).

  • I’ve not seen so much whining since the left was doing it against Bush.   Also the over the top rhetoric.  Despotism, corruption…that’s like “Bush stole the Presidency” and the like.   When partisans on each side get angry over a defeat, they lash out with really over the top rhetoric.    And each side forgives the sins of their side (or claims they are less serious) while condemning the other side.    Despotism!  *eyes rolling*

  • “given my time observing and writing about them, “progressives” or liberals, whatever label they prefer today”

    Always call them what they are: reactionary leftists.