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Free Markets, Free People

Defiant Iran Thumbs Its Nose At The Rest Of The World (update)

Well, so far this new policy of “engagement” is paying off handsomely with Iran. Here’s how they unclench their fist:

Iran’s government will build 10 new sites to enrich uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday, a dramatic expansion of the country’s nuclear program and one that is bound to fuel fears that it is attempting to produce a nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad told state news agency IRNA that construction of at least five nuclear facilities was to begin within two months.

This in the wake of an IAEA censure last Friday which, obviously, intimidated the heck out of the Iranians. The censure called Iran’s activities a “breach of its obligations” under UN treaties. Today’s announcement tells everyone what they think of those obligations. And if that wasn’t clear, Iran’s leaders made it so:

“We are ready to be friendly and kind toward the whole world, but at the same time we won’t allow the smallest violation of the rights of the Iranian nation,” Ahmadinejad said.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, standing alongside the president, told reporters that the decisions of the cabinet on Sunday are a strong response to the “unacceptable actions of world powers.”

Or, “stuff your ‘engagement’ in your pocket, we’ve got a plan and we intend to complete it – and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

So – now what?

UPDATE: Ah.  The White House reacts:

But in Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the announcement “another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself.”

“The international community has made clear that Iran has rights, but with those rights come responsibilities,” Gibbs said in a written statement. “As the overwhelming IAEA board of governors vote made clear, time is running out for Iran to address the international community’s growing concerns about its nuclear program.”

Maybe Gibbs missed it but it seems to me that Iran has just finished addressing the “international community’s growing concerns about its nuclear program”.

~McQ

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This Is “Science?”

No, this is shocking:

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The point, of course, is in the absence of the original data, other scientists have no way to reproduce CRU’s results using their methods. None.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

“Quality controlled?” Not according to the bit of code I talked about yesterday.

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Of course this has been rumored to be true for quite some time – now I suppose, it is “official”. Let me revise that first sentence above – “The CRU was the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures”.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said.

So this is how science is “settled”? This is what the “consensus” bought into. It says more about the scientific rigor of those who accepted this twaddle without checking it than it does about the skeptics, doesn’t it?

Yet, as we speak, politicians are using their findings as a basis for a worldwide treaty which will cost trillions and cripple the economies of industrialized nations. To me, what they’ve done borders on criminal. They should be absolutely shunned by the real scientists of the world. More importantly, politicians should be called upon to step back and demand a credible team of scientists look into both this scam and the underlying question of climate change in such a way that real and open scientific findings and debate are the result. As should be clear to everyone but the religionists taking all this nonsense of faith, the science is no longer considered “settled” (not that it ever was by real scientists) and there is no “consensus” concerning man’s part in climate change.

Copenhagen should be called off and no other meetings like it should be scheduled until everyone is convinced that there is some real science underlying the climate change issue.

~McQ

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Why Are Businesses Not Hiring?

We’ll soon be treated to the spectacle of a White House job summit in December.  Yes, almost 11 months into his presidency, Barack Obama has discovered that the public is most concerned with the economy and jobs – not health care.  Not the environment.  Ironically, it is most likely those two things at which the administration and the Democratic Congress have been working so hard to pass into law that have caused the job situation and economic outlook to remain so bleak.

While President Obama and congressional leaders say they would like to do more to spur job creation, economists and business executives warn that their plans to impose new health care and climate-change costs on corporations would have the opposite effect.

The initiatives, according to this analysis, are likely to overwhelm any positive impact on jobs from stimulus measures by giving businesses a reason to keep laying people off.

The House’s health care bill would raise the cost of hiring in a straightforward way: by charging businesses a new payroll tax of up to 8 percent if they do not provide health insurance to workers. The Senate plan would impose smaller fines on those same employers.

The House-passed climate-change legislation would not add directly to the cost of hiring, but would raise energy prices, which are a major cost of doing business. Economists say that many companies would react by hiring fewer people.

As we’ve mentioned numerous times, businesses want, in fact usually require, a stable economy before they begin hiring or expanding. They want to see trend lines headed up and they also want a climate that is conducive to expansion and thus hiring.

With these to major bills looming and, as the Washington Times notes, major new costs a part of their passage, businesses aren’t going to
commit to doing anything until they understand how those new costs will impact them.

So don’t hold out much hope for anything major to come out of the job summit. It’s mostly for show – a way to show concern. If the administration really wanted to see jobs created, they’d kill the two monstrosities in question and provide incentives to business (tax cuts, tax incentives, etc) to spur hiring. Instead we’re much more likely to see talk about a “second stimulus” and other big government “solutions”.

Just don’t forget the promise of the last “stimulus” – it would stop unemployment at 8% and “create or save” millions of jobs.

The official unemployment rate is 10.2%.

~McQ

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Climaquiddick – Who Are The “Deniers” Now?

What an interesting week. The wheels on the AGW bus aren’t going “round and round” any more, they seem to be coming off. Unless you listen to a good portion of the alarmists who are in the middle of denying the significance of the CRU emails, that is.

But I prefer to start my examination of what has been found with a couple of quotes from Eric S. Raymond (via Reboot Congress), software engineer, open source advocate and author of the book “The Cathedral & the Bazaar“.  The first:

For those of you who have been stigmatizing AGW skeptics as “deniers” and dismissing their charges that the whole enterprise is fraudulent? Hope you like the taste of crow, because I do believe there’s a buttload of it coming at you. Piping hot.

Pretty strong, no? So why do you suppose Raymond feels confident enough to make such a pronouncement? Because his review has found blatant and undeniable fraud within the programing used to “predict” the warming supposedly taking place. Or as he says:

All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.

Even stronger – and here’s why:

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

Raymond, in reaction to this bit of code, says:

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

You have to love it, in a sick sort of way – the routine is called “a VERY ARTIFICIAL correction for the decline” and the correction is named a “fudge factor”. Blatant? Unbelievable. Again, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or a scientist at all to see through this garbage.

What does it all yield? Raymond plots it:

artifical2

How very convenient – the “hockey stick” which began “Mann-made Global Warming”. Raymond adds an update:

Now the data is 0.75 scaled. I think I interpreted the yrloc entry incorrectly last time, introducing an off-by-one. The 1400 point (same as the 1904) is omitted as it confuses gmuplot. These are details; the basic hockey-stick shape is unaltered.

As is the basic point – “data-cooking”. Blatant data-cooking.

And yet the Alarmists want to wave it all away saying it doesn’t matter. At least those who have a political agenda which are most. But even some scientists who believe the AGW case to be valid are having difficulties reconciling what happened at CRU with what they consider to be the role of science and how science must work:

What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.

Those aren’t the words of a skeptic or a skeptical pundit. They’re the words of Dr. Judith Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology. Her main message, the same message that Raymond sends, is that this should all be open source and available to other scientists. What happened at the CRU is, in Dr. Curry’s words, indicative of “circle the wagons/point guns outward” mentality which uses “ad hominem/appeal to motive attacks; appeal to authority; isolate the enemy through lack of access to data; peer review process”. That precisely describes the emails and occurrences over the last few years as skeptics tried to get the CRU data.

Speaking of transparency, Mike Hulme, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia has this to say about the scandal:

The key lesson to be learned is that not only must scientific knowledge about climate change be publicly owned — the I.P.C.C. does a fairly good job of this according to its own terms — but the very practices of scientific enquiry must also be publicly owned, in the sense of being open and trusted. From outside, and even to the neutral, the attitudes revealed in the emails do not look good.

There are two reasons I completely agree with his assessment: 1) the research is mostly publicly funded and 2) obviously public policy is being derived from their findings and conclusions. When science is used in that sort of a way, it must be doubly open and rigorous as far as I’m concerned. And, if scientists don’t like that, they can seek their funding elsewhere (which, btw, I’d prefer as this is a wonderful example of “advocacy science” if ever I’ve seen one).

Hulme goes on to say this about Copenhagen, again something I agree with completely:

This will blow its course soon in the conventional media without making too much difference to Copenhagen — after all, COP15 is about raw politics, not about the politics of science. But in the Internet worlds of deliberation and in the ‘mood’ of public debate about the trustworthiness of climate science, the reverberations of this episode will live on long beyond COP15. Climate scientists will have to work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public – and maybe that is no bad thing.

Copenhagen’s politics aren’t really about “climate change” and its dangers. Climate change is the only the excuse for an exercise in power as it relates to governments. That and a redistribution scheme to assuage the guilt of the liberal industrial states and the greed of the third world.

But Hulme’s point about “climate scientists” having to “work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public” is a sure thing given these emails.

So while the pundits using climate change and man’s contribution as a means to more power try to wave this off and given the fact that real scientists are recognizing the huge damage these emails do to the validity of the science of climate change, the pundits are now in the “denier” category, not the skeptics.

I, for one, find the irony delicious.

~McQ

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Climaquiddick – It Doesn’t Take A Scientist …

As I wander the blogs and the net reading about the scandal that has gripped the “science” around the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia I continue to see defenses of the so-called “settled science” of AGW pushed by that group that center on the implication that those calling their data into question either aren’t smart enough or qualified enough (or both) to make the determination that the CRU’s data is wrong.

I’ll admit, up front, to both charges.  I’ll also tell you that it isn’t necessary to be either as smart as some scientists or as qualified in their field to question their science.  Why?  Because as a schoolboy I was taught what the “scientific method” is and how vitally important that method is to the credibility of science.  For those of you needing a refresher, have a look:

science_method

As you can see, there is a very important box outlined in blue among all the other boxes in the flow chart.  The words “Reproduce (by others)” refers to other scientists, just as qualified as those who’ve produced the hypothesis, testing and attempting to reproduce the results that the original scientists claim.  It is one of, if not the most critical step in validating a hypothesis and turning it into a “scientific theory”.  It is that independent reproduction of the same results using the methods and data of the original scientists that provides scientific rigor and credibility necessary for it to go from hypothesis to theory.

That is the step that has been consistently missing in the AGW controversy.  Other scientists have, for years, been asking for and been refused the original data on which the CRU based its hypothesis of man-made global warming.  We see pundits defending the science claiming the emails don’t prove AGW to be a fraud.  Maybe, maybe not – but what they do show is a consistent effort to avoid providing the data requested to others who would like to test it.  That alone should raise a sea of red flags to any real scientist.  The last thing those who are sure of their hypothesis and their science should be doing is actively trying to keep the data which underpins their hypothesis from being tested as demanded by the scientific method.

Another reason to be skeptical without having to be an atmospheric scientist has to do with other findings which have found to be wanting.  Mann’s “hockey stick” turned into a hockey puck when the data was examined.  We’ve seen cherry-picked tree ring data used to claim massive warming when, in fact, the complete data set showed nothing of the sort.  And then there’s the undisputed fact that the earth has been cooling over the last 10 years in the face of predictions by this same group that it would be warming.

All of that (and more) is certainly enough for any layman to find the science involved less than acceptable and demand in very detailed look at its core methods and data. And that’s especially true since it is the basis of a world-wide attempt by governments to institute massive and economy killing restrictions on CO2 and other emissions which, if skeptics are correct, are completely useless and would be of marginal value at the very best.

There is a very simple solution to this mess – to those that are under fire and under scrutiny: show your work. That’s it – put it out there. Doing so is at the very center of the scientific method to which all real scientists supposedly adhere. Let other scientists poke and prod both your methods and data. If it is as solid and “settled” as claimed, it shouldn’t take long to verify that. And if it is correct then even we non-scientific skeptics will have to admit there is a problem. We may still disagree on the solution, but at least the claim of “settled science” will finally have some validity as the warming hypothesis will move into the realm of scientific theory.

All of that said, my guess is that will never happen – reading the emails tells me there is a real desire to avoid that. And that makes me suspicious of the “science”. In fact, it tells me quite a bit about the “science” of the hypothesis involved without having to know any of the scientific details. Given that, you certainly don’t have to be an atmospheric scientist or a genius to be skeptical.  In fact, you have more reason than ever to remain so.

~McQ

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Interesting Health Care Poll Numbers

It appears as the public becomes more aware of what Congress is planning with this health care monstrosity they’re calling reform, the more reason they find to like the present system.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. That marks a steady increase from 44% at the beginning of October, 35% in May and 29% a year-and-a-half ago.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% now say the U.S. health care system is poor.

It is interesting to note that confidence in the system has improved as the debate over health care reform has moved to center stage. The latest polling shows that only 38% favor the health care legislation currently working its way through Congress.

It also shows a marked decrease in those favoring the legislation – not that such polling will stop the Democrats from continuing to ram something through. Even Howard Dean finds the current legislation troubling and declares it does nothing to control costs – one of the supposed central tenets of reform.

I’ve been saying for months that the Democrats are going to pass something called “health care reform”. They have too. Otherwise Obama’s domestic legislative agenda will be declared a failure and, ultimately, his presidency. Now I’m not so sure, given the fact that the legislation is under fire from all sides, that passage of “something” is necessarily assured.  Meanwhile the latest atrocity in a government run health care system to ponder.

Time to turn up the heat and pressure to drop this awful mess. It is nothing more than a government power grab based in generational theft that does nothing to make health care better. To quote Nancy Reagan, it’s time to “just say no”.

~McQ

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Climaquiddick Expands – New Zealand Data Questioned

Anthony Watts has the story.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

The charts explain it quite well. Here’s the NIWA chart:

NZchart1

Notice the relentless rise in temperature depicted on the chart.

Now, here’s the raw data from the temperature stations:

NZchart2

As Watts points out:

Gone is the relentless rising temperature trend, and instead there appears to have been a much smaller growth in warming, consistent with the warming up of the planet after the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850.

The revelations are published today in a news alert from The Climate Science Coalition of NZ:

Straight away you can see there’s no slope—either up or down. The temperatures are remarkably constant way back to the 1850s. Of course, the temperature still varies from year to year, but the trend stays level—statistically insignificant at 0.06°C per century since 1850.

Got that? 0.06°C per century since 1850?! Absolutely statistically insignificant (especially given that 1850 signaled the end of the Little Ice Age) and certainly nothing which supports the dire prediction of the Chicken Little crowd.

Read the entire Watts article. And for some additional reading, try this piece at American Thinker about the programing problems at the University of East Anglica’s CRU. I understood about half (not being a programmer) but it certainly made me understand that there were serious problems with their calculations.

As an aside, I’m going with the “quiddick” suffix vs. the “-gate”. As CR mentioned, “-gate” refers to a story the media will relentlessly pursue while “quiddick” refers to a story the media will do its level best to ignore. I think, given the current “coverage” that it is obvious “quiddick” is more applicable – although I do like another suggestion about a name for the whole AGW movement – “Global Whoring”. Fits.

~McQ

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Libertarian and Liberal Thanksgivings

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Usually I try to keep this day as a non-partisan, non-political day in which I wish everyone of every ideological persuasion the blessings of the day (and I still do!). But as it happens, the day provided me with one of the best examples of the differences between libertarians and liberals I’ve seen in a while. Two separate postings concerning Thanksgiving. One from a liberal blogger, Ezra Klein, and one from a blogger who is a visitor at the American Enterprise Institute (Mark Perry).

Klein reprints a food section column (one assumes he does so approvingly) all about controlling behavior:

I asked Ariely how he would set up his Thanksgiving feast to limit overeating without having to exercise self-control. His answer was to construct the “architecture” of the meal beforehand. Create conditions that guide people toward good choices, or even use their irrationality to your benefit.

“Move to chopsticks!” he exclaimed, making bites smaller and harder to take. If the chopsticks are a bit extreme, smaller plates and utensils might work the same way. Study after study shows that people eat more when they have more in front of them. It’s one of our predictable irrationalities: We judge portions by how much is left rather than how full we feel. Smaller portions lead us to eat less, even if we can refill the plate.

There it is in a nutshell – the liberal propensity toward trying to control the behavior of others. The writer decides it is his or her job to make it more difficult for you to “overeat”. Instead of just deciding to put on a great feast in keeping with the day and butt out of the affairs of others, the writer approvingly decides it is incumbent upon the server to construct an “architecture” to control the eating of others. Really – “move to chopsticks”! Or put the mashed potatoes in the kitchen!

Speaking of which, Ariely suggests placing the food “far away.” In this case, serve from the kitchen rather than the table. If people have to get up to add another scoop of mashed potatoes, they’re less likely to take their fifth serving than if they simply have to reach in front of them.

Some people can just suck the joy out of an occasion, I swear. But this seems perfectly in keeping with my observations of the more liberal among us.

On the other hand, Mark Perry decided on focusing on a completely different thing for the day – a celebration of a miracle that occurs daily all over the world that is rarely acknowledged. Thanksgiving provides the perfect day to note it:

Like in previous years, you probably didn’t call your local supermarket ahead of time and order your Thanksgiving turkey this year. Why not? Because you automatically assumed that a turkey would be there when you showed up, and it probably was there when you showed up “unannounced” at the grocery store to select your bird.

The reason your Thanksgiving turkey was waiting for you without an advance order? Because of “spontaneous order,” “self-interest,” and the “invisible hand” of the free market – “the mysterious power that leads innumerable people, each working for his own gain, to promote ends that benefit many.” And even if your turkey appeared in your local grocery stores only because of the “selfishness” or “corporate greed” of thousands of turkey farmers, truckers, and supermarket owners who are complete strangers to you and your family, it’s still part of the miracle of the marketplace where “individually selfish decisions lead to collectively efficient outcomes.”

Thanksgiving is epitomized by the process Perry describes. Our holiday is indeed as much a miracle of the market as anything. It enables everyone who wants too to have what they need or desire for that day – and every day. It is truly something to celebrate.

Free markets. Free people.

Happy Thanksgiving.

~McQ

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The Significance Of The Growing Climate Scandal

Whether you prefer “Climategate” or “Warmaquiddick” or “Climaquiddick” (most seem to prefer something with “quiddick” v.  “gate” for some reason) as a name for the developing scientific scandal, the fact is that the emails revealed this week from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit are significant and damning.

Why are they significant?

The leaked documents (see our previous coverage) come from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in eastern England. In global warming circles, the CRU wields outsize influence: it claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its work and mathematical models were incorporated into the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. That report, in turn, is what the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged it “relies on most heavily” when concluding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and should be regulated.

To me that’s more than enough reason to step back, call a halt to all this talk about global treaties and take a good hard look at the science involved in all of this. What should be obvious to everyone is that more than enough questions have emerged over the past year to seriously question the conclusions reached by the CRU.

This data is the source of the EPA’s decision to regulate CO2. The fact that the data may be false or fudged then throws into question not only the conclusions of the IPCC’s report, but the EPA’s decision. If, in fact, they indicate scientific fraud as they seem too, then it also calls into question any other science or decisions made based on their conclusions. We’re literally talking about trillions of dollars hanging in the balance and a massive shift in government power (through regulation and taxation) and intrusion in our lives.

Yet, despite the fact that this story has been circulating for at least a week, some media outlets have declined to pursue it and have done the journalistic equivalent of yelling “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” by publishing editorials and articles which talk about the threat of global warming. Thankfully their readers, in some cases unmercifully, clue them in. The Washington Post, one of the few media outlets to even acknowledge the scandal, essentially blows it off in an editorial ironically entitled “Climate of Denial”, preferring to pretend that there’s really nothing of significance to the emails except perhaps, the CRU should have been a little more transparant than they were. It also refers to the emails as “stolen”.

In fact, it appears that the revelation of the emails may have been the work of a whistleblower, who, unlike WaPo, saw the real significance of what was being concealed:

It’s not clear how the files were leaked. One theory says that a malicious hacker slipped into East Anglia’s network and snatched thousands of documents. Another says that the files had already been assembled in response to a Freedom of Information request and, immediately after it was denied, a whistleblower decided to disclose them. (Lending credence to that theory is the fact that no personal e-mail messages unrelated to climate change appear to have been leaked.)

Interestingly the media exception to that is Declan McCullagh at CBS’s blog “Taking Liberties”. He does a pretty good and indepth job of looking at it all. I’ve linked ot his piece above (about the significance of the scandal). Make sure you read the emails concerning the programing and the data base. If that alone doesn’t set off alarm bells and tell you that what CRU produced might have some very serious problems, I’m not sure what will. Also read Phil Jones attempt to explain away the “hiding the decline” comment in one of his emails as meaning something colloquial which, of course, he claims doesn’t mean what in means otherwise. Very poor.

With all of that said, and ending with citing the Jones quote, I present for your entertainment, “Hiding The Decline”:

~McQ

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So Where Are We On Health Care Reform?

That depends on who you talk too. Sen. Chuck Schumer says it will pass in the Senate. But then Schumer always says things will pass whether they do or not. Joe Lieberman says he’s going to be “stubborn” about his vote. If the bill has a public option, he won’t vote for it.  Harry Reid has said it will have some form of a public option, in the case of the pending bill a public option which states can opt out of.  With Liberman saying no, is there any doubt the focus will shift to a certain Republican Senator from Maine?  And, of course, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, is in the middle of being ” bought” with hundreds of millions of your tax dollars promised in the “health care reform” bill if she’ll just sign on and help it pass.  They call that “payola” in the broadcasting business and it is illegal.

In the United States Senate, it’s business as usual.

Probably the most interesting take on the Senate right now comes from Howard Dean who says he sees trouble for Democrats regardless of the outcome:

“I think if you passed the Senate bill tomorrow it would be OK. But then the problem is they don’t have any defense for their members in 2010,” Dean said, noting that the public option would not become operational until 2014. “On the other hand, if they drop the public option [to placate moderate members], I think they lose seats.”

“So this is really tough. I didn’t anticipate being in this position. I thought it would pass. Maybe Harry has some magic up his sleeve. But I don’t see how he gets those four votes [Sens. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.)] without compromising the bill,” Dean concluded.

The former Vermont governor warned that if the party allowed the four moderates to further water down the bill (or defeat it altogether) it could lead to primary challenges or a drop in fundraising from the party’s base.

“If you have members refusing to vote for Reid on procedural issues you will have a revolt in the party,” Dean said. “What is the point of having a 60-vote margin? This is going to be death for the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and the [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee]. Why would anyone donate to them if they’re supporting candidates who defeat the Democratic agenda?”

And, of course, he has a “solution”:

There was, he insisted, an out clause. Reconciliation — the budgetary maneuver that would allow portions of reform to be considered by an up or down vote — “looks better every time,” Dean said. “Someone has to say, at some point, we need to pass a bill.” Reid has hinted that reconciliation is an increasingly unlikely proposition.

Nothing but lousy options. Damned if they do, double damned if they don’t. This is precisely the position I enjoy seeing Democrats in, especially as it concerns the monstrosity they’re trying to birth and call “health care reform”. I have to say, this is the one time in my life that I’m actively hoping for a still-birth. It will take all of the Senatorial GOP sticking to their guns, and one of four of the Democrats in question actually living up to their promises. The question is, are any or all of them willing to be known as the Senator(s) who killed health care reform. I know, given this mess, I’d wear that as a badge of honor. I’m still not sure these four would view it that way.

~McQ

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