Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cohn Pleads: "Pleeeeease Pass the Senate Bill!"

Yep, it's already started. We've already got Jonathan Cohn whinging in TNR about how doomed the House will be if they don't pass the Senate's bill unaltered.

Yes, that Senate bill. The one that's a big ol' giveaway to insurance companies, which taxes the holy hell out of unions to avoid higher upper-class taxes, which practically forces insurance cartels and and which Coakley almost certainly lost the election on. (Yes, it's similar to Massachusetts' own setup. That is completely irrelevant.)

The House should pass that bill unchanged.


Look, Jon. I can call you Jon, right? I know that you've invested a lot of your own political and intellectual capital into this thing, despite your own misgivings. A lot of other people have, too. Poor Ezra seems to have found himself practically authoring the thing, and Captain Sabermetrics has, in defending this tripe, managed to so competely alienate himself from more progressive bloggers that his reputation as a cool, unattached statistical analyst is probably gone for good.

But now you've been reduced to advocating the very bill that you and everybody else had been saying, just a few months ago, would be "fixed in reconciliation". You've been reduced to telling politicians that a terrible bill is "better than nothing", which has always been political suicide. And you've been reduced to telling the House that their entire Congressional body is supposed to lie down and admit that they have less authority than ONE Connecticut Senator...that they're essentially worthless.

Even if you can pull it off, is it really worth it? You sound exactly like the neoconservatives and "liberal hawks" trying to defend the Iraq occupation after the wheels went off the whole thing in late 2003. Same damned "better than nothing" arguments, even. "You go to war with the army you have" is a punchline, not a guideline. Sure, TNR was one of the main sources of that malarky, but you're a good writer and a good journalist; you should be able to learn from history.

I'm not going to predict whether this sort of thing will work. The same entitlement and disconnect that fueled this bill and Coakley's humiliating, bizarre defeat might mean that the House gets convinced to vote against their own interests. They're trying to save their jobs, after all. They're politicians.

But Cohn isn't a politician. And, dammit, he should know better.

Edit: And, as you can see here, he DOES know better, when it isn't health care on the table.

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