Archive for the ‘David Henderson’ Category

David Henderson and Lawrence O’Donnell: Two “healther” conspiracy theorists on the level of truthers and birthers

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell secretly wants Obamacare to pass and worked during the debate this past fall and winter to make exactly that happen. This latest breaking nonsense is postulated here on the lefty blog, HuffingtonPost by blogger Lawrence O’Donnell, but the hat tip goes to David Henderson, where I first read it here.

I don’t know Mr. McConnell; I’ve only met him once. He very well may secretly hope Obamacare passes so that he and Republicans can win next fall on a platform of Obamacare’s repeal. This is far-fetched — and I’d say patently false — but not because I know Mitch or his intentions (keep up here; I just said I don’t). And neither does O’Donnell. But I’m fine accepting O’Donnell’s premise that Republicans are politically retarded and self-destructively opportunistic, for the sake of argument, if Mr. O’Donnell will admit that he can’t know McConnell or his motives either. We’d then have only have the facts – the reality of parliamentary procedure, which O’Donnell claims to understand – to help us decide who’s right.

Senate Republicans held Democrats to a 60-vote standard on just about everything they could during this past year’s debate on health care. This was their simple strategy: The bill is controversial enough that they’re having a tough time getting all 60 Dems on board, right? Well, okay, make them get to 60 every time, at every turn, on all amendments, all procedures — everything.

In turn, Reid’s standard for Republicans was the same; Two can play at that game, Reid may have thought, so he required the same 60-vote standard of all Republican amendments. Yes, O’Donnell, McConnell had to “agree,” in a very technical sense, to this 60-vote arrangement, but only because if he hadn’t, Reid could have simply taken the ball home and denied any and all Republican amendments to the bill. Reid has that power as Senate Majority Leader.

The amendment O’Donnell mentioned in his post failed because it didn’t reach the agreed-upon 60-vote threshold, but clearly McConnell’s hands were tied in making that agreement. After all, had McConnell stopped (or never started) holding Dems to a 60-vote standard and instead let everything Democratic through with 51-vote thresholds, how much worse would the bill have been (to Republican eyes) upon its final vote, and who would have been blamed for not fighting hard enough? (Answer: McConnell. And Republicans.) And McConnell, according to O’Donnell, should have done this why? So one of the “four” amendments Republicans devised could have passed? In what world would this have been a solid legislative strategy to TRULY oppose the Democrats’ bill?

And now about the alleged four amendments Senate Republicans offered — only four Republican amendments and five motions? Really? O’Donnell is wrong there, too. Reid was, again, in charge of how many Republican amendments made it to the floor. Republicans offered dozens — more than 60, if I remember correctly (not counting the literally hundreds offered in both the Health and Finance committees by their respective Republican members when each committee considered a version of health care last year) — but just about all were denied floor votes by the Democratic leadership.

The reason Republicans are fighting this tooth and nail, and not pretending to, is precisely because the bill has been so hard for Democrats to pass even with their huge majorities and a Democrat in the White House. In other words, if it’s been this hard to pass with the planets so aligned in their favor, imagine what a Republican repeal would take. No, not the hypothetical 52 Henderson suggests Republicans could get in the Senate. It would require more than 60 votes in the Senate, a strong majority in the House, and a Republican in the White House, and even then, it would require very strong political will to reverse something so many millions of American mooches will have come to rely on. (What’s curious is that Henderson happens to point out that this “strategy” would fail because there’s a Democrat in the White House who’d veto their repeal, yet somehow McConnell and his Republicans are dumb enough to think it just might work?)

Which takes us back to the beginning. This theory could only possibly make sense to healthers like Henderson and O’Donnell.