Reid will address the Senate Democratic caucus again next week, although the real audience is those five Blue Dogs who are still dithering. One way or another it would be nice to get one of these idiots to just read the damn bill and sign up for it. None of the Blue Dogs has given a credible reason why they would oppose the Senate bill – either they express objections which are inaccurate like Lieberman, or they express vague philosophical objections which have no basis in reality. If they were to express a concrete, real-world objection to something that’s in the bill, Reid could fix it with no sweat. Getting one of the Blue Dogs in line will help put the pressure on Lieberman: there is a tremendous difference between having one dissenting vote, or two or three.
The other part of the two-prong strategy is to publicly set up the reconciliation option. Conrad, Lieberman and Bayh will at least allow the Senate to debate the bill. But with Lincoln going even further to the right than Lieberman the Independent, saying she might not even let the Senate bill be debated, and Nelson also noncommittal on the debate issue – it’s time to plan seriously for reconciliation, and wave that stick in the faces of the Blue Dogs. Meet with the parliamentarian and get it sorted out and publicize the results.
Lieberman seems hell-bent on spitting in the faces of Democrats. The same guy who campaigned, hard, to eliminate the filibuster tool entirely 15 years ago is now the poster child for filibusters, like a two-year-old who is throwing shoes into a toilet to block it up just because he can; he was also talking about launching a nonsensical investigation into Obama’s czars, an attack that has already been debunked, and then screwing Reid over on the public option, and then deserting the Democrats in favour of the GOP on reauthorizing the Patriot Act, and he is now saying he’ll campaign for Republicans in 2010. Is he trying to provoke Obama and Reid with all this crap? Is he swinging to the right so he can cover himself if he does vote for health reform, or to lay the groundwork for switching to the GOP? Or is he just insane? Some say he is in fact running for reelection although he’s unpopular back home, particularly on the public option issue, and even if he runs, Harkin is already hinting that he could lose his committee chair.
Bayh has switched on the procedural vote, now saying that the motion to debate is not the same as the motion to pass the bill, although he is still mum on the motion to allow the final vote. So the anti-Blue-Dog backlash is starting to work. More backlash: the latest polling from Arkansas shows that the voters want the public option by a huge margin, and that they are less likely to vote for Lincoln if she blocks the public option. Nelson is still sucking around for the opt-in; he doesn’t want a bill that will “destabilize” the insurance industry he used to work for.
Perhaps the GOP is starting to realize that their stonewalling tactics are making them look really bad. Under pressure from Reid, the GOP backed down and allowed the surgeon general nomination to go through.