Add Kevin Drum to the list of lefties who thinks that “deem and pass” is a bad way for House Democrats to pass health care reform.
First, take a look at a likely Republican attack ad this fall:
Cue ominous music. Liberal Joe Smith voted for a bloated, big-government takeover of healthcare that spends trillions, balloons the national debt, and puts a federal bureaucrat between you and your doctor [etc.]
And here’s the version if the bill moves through the House via deem and pass:
Cue ominous music. Liberal Joe Smith voted for a bloated, big-government takeover of healthcare that spends trillions, balloons the national debt, and puts a federal bureaucrat between you and your doctor….Cue even more ominous music….and then he tried to pull the wool over your eyes by pretending he didn’t really vote for it at all. Joe Smith: not just a big-spending liberal, a contemptible, sneaky [add other words from the Newt Gingrich lexicon here] big-spending liberal.
Well, sure. But two points.
- The first ad works better if Democrats fail, between now and November, to convince what I’ll call the “nervous persuadables” that their health care bill is actually a step in the right direction. No guarantees, mind you (these are Democrats we’re talking about here), but I think it’s a safe bet that the bill will look a lot better five months after it passes than it does now.
- There’s an easy response to this: “The Senate bill was so laden with pork and special deals that we had to make sure that if the bill passed, it was without the payoffs and earmarks that had nothing to do with making health care affordable for all Americans.”
It’s not like Speaker Pelosi is waving a wand and passing the Senate bill using magical fairy dust. She’s having the House vote on the Senate bill, as amended by the reconciliation package. It’s really not that complicated a concept.
The GOP ads with ominous scary music are coming anyway, and they will almost certainly have the same familiarity with the truth that I have with Lauren Graham, which is that I know what she looks like, but I’m not likely to ever be in the same room with her.
I’ve said it before. I don’t care how it happens. Pass the damned bill.