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Monday, March 1, 2010

Reform by Reconciliation Means Losing Votes: So What?

A couple comments from Congress on health care:

"Why are we here? We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress," [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] said on ABC's "This Week." "We're here to do the job for the American people; to get them results that give them not only health security but economic security, because the health issue is an economic issue for America's families."

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA.) countered on "Meet the Press" that if Democrats push the bill through on party lines, they will "lose their majority in Congress in November" [Anne E. Kornblut, "Democrats Will Have Votes for Health Bill, Obama Aide Says," Washington Post, 2010.03.01]

Pelosi says we should focus on solving problems. Cantor says we should worry about keeping our seats.

I wonder: even if Cantor's thesis is correct, even if we would lose the majority for passing health care by reconciliation, maybe it's worth it. Pass reform, get the solution rolling, and to heck with what happens in November.

The world might be a better place if we all legislated as if there were no electoral tomorrow. Keeping power is much less important than using power. What say you, Dems?


  1. I agree. The late Senator Kennedy spoke of this very issue often. He believed in his supporters and the electorate enough to make the tough votes and trusted them to make the right decision at the polls. He made many hard choices and voted for and against many controversial pieces of legislation in his career and never lost his Senate seat. He didn't care about his seat until it came time for the election. When he was in DC voting on legislation it wasn't to keep a seat, it was to do the job he was elected to do.

  2. Win the battle, lose the war?

  3. Great point, Cory.

    It's somewhat common practice that politicians say and do what it takes to get elected. This behavior is typically rationalized by saying, "we have to get in, then we can do what needs to be done."

    That works strategically to some extent, I suppose.

    But if, once in office, the winner doesn't do the good works, then it becomes a case of bad faith any way you look at it.


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