Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We wouldn't need Olympia Snowe if the president simply told the Dems to vote the right way

From AmericaBlog here.
I was talking to a politically astute friend the other day about health care reform and Olympia Snowe, and I asked her, "could Obama get 60 Democratic votes on health care reform?" She answered: "Sure, like this." Then she poked her finger at me. Huh? All he has to do, my friend then told me, is call up the Senators and tell them how to vote. In particular, Mary Landrieu (who needs a threat) and Ben Nelson (who needs an incentive). In other words, the president of the United States of America has a quite significant ability to get his way on legislation, if he wants to. Then why isn't he?
From the comments (same link):

Obama has stated again and again he supports the public option. You are totally misunderstanding his comments towards the Baucus bill. He is just trying to get a bill, any bill through the Finance committee, and even the Senate. The Senate House Joint Conference Committee is where the actual bill that Obama wants will be formulated.
- - -
actually, the bar isnt really even that high. he only needs the 60 votes on cloture. In other words, he can say "If you vote to support a republican filibuster I will make your life miserable every way I can" But once he achieves that he only needs 50 senators plus joe biden to get the bill passed. That lets 10 senators with difficult states vote the other way after defeating the filibuster. Getting the 50 votes for a good bill would be easy.
- - -
Another point I would like to make is the Progressives in the House are not afraid of this bill going down. Their seats are secure, because they come from liberal districts. If the Dems fail to pass something it is the moderate Dems who will suffer in future elections. Both sides know this. Baucus and Conrad know the Progressives in the House are the ones in the position of power.

What you are seeing now is an elaborate kabuki theater. Both sides know what will have to eventually happen, but they have to go through the dance first.
- - -
Unfortunately in the real world, there are other votes beyond this one. If you could get both Maine girls and the moderate Dems then you are building relationships for future votes (and maybe causing a further rift in the Republican party).

I will tell you what I have told others: Obama will wait to the very last second to shove the bill down the throats of the moderates. Hopefully it won't come to that, and Obama will try to do everything to avoid that. But don't be fooled, Obama will do what he has to do to pass real reform. There is just no need to go hardcore... yet.

No comments: