Obamacare

Health Care Hits the Senate

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Welcome to the Senate, health care reform watchers, a deliberative body so deliberative that it required a solid eight hours of debate this weekend to decide whether or not to proceed with… several more weeks of debate. And most of that "debate" occurred after all the participants had made their views known. As Ezra Klein notes, this phase of the never-ending reform slog will consist mostly of Democrats finding ways to count to 60—to amend the bill, perhaps, and, at some point, to close off debate and have the actual vote. 

The 60 vote threshold creates something of a hurdle for reformers, in large part because it gives those Democrats least interested in voting for reform (or at least reform that looks something like the legislation we now see) a significant incentive to be difficult. The result, as we've already seen, is a lot of hemming and hawing and hard bargaining over pet side-provisions, like, for example, the $100 million in extra funding for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu got.

Of course, all of the wheeling and dealing may just be a kabuki routine. Are any of the grumbling moderates actually willing to walk away from the deal and cause their party's biggest initiative in a decade or more to go down in flames? I'd say it's doubtful, but not impossible, particularly if the poll numbers for reform legislation keep dropping. Right now, according to Pollster.com, opposition is at 47.7 percent, with only 40 percent favorable. Meanwhile, Obama's overall job approval rating has dropped below 50 percent, and disapproval for his handling of the health care debate is at 48 percent, with 44 percent in favor. This numbers probably aren't enough to kill the legislation quite yet, but if they drop much further, I can imagine a handful of moderate Senators ignoring the call of history for a moment and asking which side of public opinion they really want to be on.

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  1. Rasmussen, I believe, has support for the bill under 40%. Not that it matters. The only poll that matters is the one that took place a little over a year ago.

    1. The upcoming poll in about a year is weighing on the minds of a handful of Senators …

  2. “Of course, all of the wheeling and dealing may just be a kabuki routine.”

    Could someone please beat Sudarman for using that tired ass metaphor. And for the record, a Japanese Kubuki is a highly stylized dance drama. The ending is no more or less pre-determined than any other work of fiction. Not only is that metaphor a really annoying one, it isn’t even a correct one.

    1. Sometimes I wonder: how many of the people who use that metaphor have any idea what it means or where it comes from?

      1. I think most people who use the metaphor think it refers to some kind of Japanese courtship or social ritual rather than a Asian form of ballet. For the metaphor to work, it would have to be a dance or ritual people do in real life before taking a pre-determined action.

        1. then his use of the term is quite accurate in this context.

          1. No its not. It would be acurate if it really were a social ritual. It is not. It is just a dance drama. It is like saying “senate is going through their usual Russian ballet dance before passing the bill.” It makes no sense.

            1. The Senate is going through its usual bukakke ritual before passing the bill.

              1. I have no idea what bukakke means. But my instinct tells me it is pornographic.

                1. John, meet bukkake. Bukkake, John.

                  NSFW

                  http://www.xvideos.com/tags/bukkake

                2. Your instincts are right. But I can’t believe you don’t know what it means.

                  1. Not everyone has TLAvideo as their home page.

            2. You’re really reaching there, John. I think the metaphor works just fine. However, I would like to have Suder-Man whipped for the missed alt-text opportunity.

              1. I really don’t see how it does or least how it does well. I will give you if it were occasionally used, it probably wouldn’t be worth being annoyed over. But, since every fish hack in Washington uses it at least twice a week, its weakness becomes very noticable and annoying.

                1. It’s one of those words, like “nonplussed” or “truculent,” that just begs to be used imprecisely.

    2. Suderman FAIL

      (i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

      (ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do.

      (iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

      (iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

      (v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

      (vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

      1. And never regularly cite Ezra Klein as a source for news related to health-care legislation. It’s like citing Krugman on the topic of federal spending.

    3. John, by attacking Suderman (and spelling his name wrongly) you are precipitating a crisis. Now, be aware, that the Chinese character for “crisis” consists of two component characters; “danger” and “opportunity.”

      1. So that’s where Rahm got it from, the ChiComs. It all makes so much sense now.

        1. Oh no, it was invented by Milton Friedman while in his underwater volcano lair with his henchmen in the Heritage Institute and AIPAC. The Chinese borrowed it along with his extreme deregulatory philosophy.

    4. Hmmmmmmm….

      Megan McArdle: Parsing the Senate Debate on Health Care

      I spent eight hours this weekend watching the Senate debate on whether to proceed with debating on whether to pass a health care bill. This was largely a sort of kabuki ritual…

  3. I don’ think Lieberman will vote for cloture out of revenge for 2006. If you add Lieberman, it only takes one Dem to break ranks and you are at 41. That is a pretty tight margin of error.

  4. Of course, all of the wheeling and dealing may just be a kabuki routine.

    *jaw crashes to floor*

    1. Lacist!

  5. I think Peter is using a good metaphor, especially if you go back to the origins of the style.

    The history of kabuki began in 1603 when Okuni of Izumo, possibly a miko of Izumo Taisha, began performing a new style of dance drama in the dry riverbeds of Kyoto. Female performers played both men and women in comic playlets about ordinary life. The style was instantly popular; Okuni was even asked to perform before the Imperial Court. In the wake of such success, rival troupes quickly formed, and kabuki was born as ensemble dance and drama performed by women?a form very different from its modern incarnation. Much of its appeal in this era was due to the ribald, suggestive performances put on by many troupes; this appeal was further augmented by the fact that the performers were often also available for prostitution.[1] For this reason, kabuki was also written “???” (singing and dancing prostitute) during the Edo Period.

    1. Okay. I hadn’t thought of that. When applied to the Congress, perhaps it is an apt metaphor.

      1. When applied to the Congress, perhaps it is an apt metaphor.

        Singing and dancing whores? Oh yeah, big time.

    2. I love trivia.

      The expression kabukimono (????) referred originally to those who were bizarrely dressed and swaggered on a street.

      The pimp hand has always been strong.

  6. Is boobosity a word?

  7. xvideos.com/tags/bukkake

  8. You guys are mean.

    There’s a press-idiomatic usage of “kabuki,” and Suderman’s job is to bring us the press-idiomatic, lest we lose ourselves in a libertarian echo chamber of thought-about things.

    He even went to the trouble of paraphrasing it, from the usual “dance” to “routine.” That’s Original Journalism, people!

  9. John, go to xvideos.com and check out the tag for bukkake if you really want to know.

    Totally NSFW, BTW.

  10. John, the website xvideos has a large selection of bukkake videos, under the tag for that, if you really want to know. Totally NSFW.

    1. Fucking server spam squirrels won’t allow any interesting posts of that.

  11. Let’s see: a highly stylized ritual dance, with a predetermined outcome? Naah. That’s not applicable.

  12. This is the reason that term limits may be a bad idea. Just imagine how the lefties would vote if they couldn’t get reelected. No poll in the world would stop them from foisting this dependency scheme on us.

    1. The more ardent supporters of this bill wouldn’t even be in office if we had term limits.

      The whole point of term limits is to get incompetents in office who haven’t yet learned how to steal our liberty with great proficiency.

    2. I hadn’t considered that. I’ve always considered myself a pretty ardent supporter of term limits, but that’s a point I had never considered.

      Similar to how Clinton enacted the overly burdensome water-quality regulation on his last day in office just to be a dick (i.e. to make GWB have to reverse it, giving the dems some political ammo, “George Bush wants your kids to drink poison!”).

      Anyway, thanks for posting that.

  13. The result, as we’ve already seen, is a lot of hemming and hawing and hard bargaining over pet side-provisions, like, for example, the $100 million in extra funding for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu got.

    Try bumping that by a factor of 3

    “I will correct something. It’s not $100 million, it’s $300 million, and I’m proud of it and will keep fighting for it”

    1. If I was a democratic senator on the fence and voted for it without getting anything, I’d feel pretty fucking stupid right now.

  14. I would have settled for the Senate engaging in a seppuku routine.

  15. JW, if the numbers keep heading South on this and a decently focussed oppo message emerges, voting for it could, indeed, be political seppuku.

    Still, imagine the fundraising opportunities if it was real seppuku. Aside from the pay-per-view, they could auction off the kaishukunin spots. A gold mine!

    1. Even my very liberal wife, who questions very little that comes from Democratic mouths, is skeptical about this plan.

  16. a deliberative body so deliberative that it required a solid eight hours of debate this weekend to decide whether or not to proceed with… several more weeks of debate

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  17. Aside from the pay-per-view, they could auction off the kaishukunin spots. A gold mine!

    I’m in. Who can I assist for $20?

  18. Aside from the pay-per-view, they could auction off the kaishukunin spots.

    “Yeah, I don’t have a wakizashi. Can I just stab Feinstein over and over with this penknife?”

    1. BakedPenguin, the kaishukunin would use a katana rather than a wakizashi unless he really, really didn’t like the, err, celebrant . . . . oh, never mind.

      1. I’ve got a hundred and a rusty saw. Whose up next?

  19. Oh, Congress … STFU!

  20. 0

    Nice application of Japanese stylistic minimalism, T.

  21. I’m working on being less verbose. Having your posts oddly eaten by the mighty squirrels seems to help with that.

  22. …the $100 million in extra funding for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu got.

    Ask Landrieu. She remembers. She knows and she watches. You are strange. Are you not of the Body?

  23. It scares the shit out of me that Congress works fucking weekends. Why can’t they take the damned weekend off?!

    1. I hope they’re not charging us overtime.

  24. Maybe the public option isn’t a bad idea.

    In fact, we should have a public option for education too. Just think of how the competition would bring the cost of education down and quality up. And then it just wouldn’t be the wealthy that could afford a good school. What could possibly go wrong?

  25. Can I just stab Feinstein over and over with this penknife?”

    Yes. In the eye.

  26. I think the democrats have to do more hard-work if they wants to amend this reform bill in the senate.This bill has been a ‘talk of town’ for many months in every part of US.I wonder sometime that how many months will this bill take to ‘RIP’ from all the controversies.

  27. President Obama and the first lady travel to Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas today to meet with the families of those killed during last week’s shootings as well as with wounded soldiers

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