39 thoughts on “Lamest Argument Ever: “Do Over!”

  1. Ellen Mrja says:

    The Republicans now have the opportunity to put up or shut up. They won’t do either.

    It’s far easier to say what’s wrong with what’s been hammered out over the course of one year than it is to offer up a credible alternative. And “leaders” like John Bone know it.

  2. Newt says:

    If one’s sincere belief is that the Dem’s bill is pure crap, and even detrimental over the status quo, why wouldn’t they demand a start-from-scratch approach?

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Newt, suppose at the end of a long and full debate about Reagan’s tax cut package, congressional Democrats had said “we think how the congressional votes turned out is ‘pure crap and detrimental over the status quo,’ so we demand that President Reagan start over from scratch.” How would you have viewed their argument?

      1. Newt says:

        How would I have reacted? I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised. We’re now 30 years later, and the only legislation that will pass is through convincing majorities and super majorities. Democrats call it “broken government.” What it means is that they can’t pass their bills under existing rules. I’m OK with it – in both directions.

        The Dems spooked the country and burned up all their trust in Obama’s first 90 days. The only way they’ll get any bills passed now is through chicanery or parlimentary tricks, or outright payoffs as in the cases of Landrieu and Nelson.

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        So, Newt, in 1981 you would have said “I’m so sorry, Speaker O’Neill, that the vote outcomes were not to your liking. By all means, we will NOT cut taxes as President Reagan wants, and will instead scrap the passed bill and restart the legislative process over from scratch.”

      3. Newt says:

        Joe – it’s my understanding that the “vote outcomes” with the healthcare bill have been insufficient, so far, to bring it to a conference committee vote. The Repubs are demanding that, although it’s 90% along, the Dems should scrap it and start over. In the case of Reagan’s tax cuts – which resulted in a surge in tax revenues – the Dems were in no position to demand anything.

      4. Joe Loveland says:

        Newt, the larger discussion is whether “do over” is a credible argument for grown-up legislators who don’t have enough votes to prevail. You seem to be saying it is acceptable to call for a “do over” if the vote is close, but not if the margin is wide. The logic of that doesn’t make sense to me.

        Even then, my Googling tells me that the House vote on the 1981 Reagan tax cut passed by a 218-216 vote margin, while the vote the 2009 health reform bill passed the House 220-215. Both very, very close. But it would have been goofy for Rep. O’Neill to have called for a do over in 1981, and it is lame for Rep. Boehner to call for one now.

      5. Newt says:

        I know you’ve found data to the contrary, but I am convinced the public deeply distrusts the Dems on healthcare reform. I think that’s why you’re seeing Boehner et al push for a Mulligan on the bill.

  3. Mrs. Fay says:

    If they started from scratch, what’s to say we wouldn’t end up in exactly the same place we are now…only 6 or 10 months from noww……….ooooh…I get it, stall until the mid terms are over and keep the D’s from being able to claim Victory over health insurance reform, pretty sneaky, sis.

  4. Joe Loveland says:

    I see that Governor Pawlenty has made it known that he is availability to attend the Summit:

    One GOP idea that hasn’t yet been approved: a suggestion by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 presidential hopeful, that governors be allowed to attend the meeting.

  5. “But policy satisfaction is not a guaranteed right in our democracy.” No, it’s not, which is why they’re not taking anyone to court to protect a “right to satisfaction.”

    They might not have a brilliant solution for fixing the problems people have with health care and health insurance, but they’re also not childish morons who are demanding others respect a non-existent right to satisfaction. They want to step back and adjust course, and they’re holding a summit they hope will make their case. Am I missing something?

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      There’s a policy disagreement in America today. A chunk of the country thinks the current private system is hopelessly broken and a number of public interventions are needed to fix it. Another chunk of the country thinks the private system, though flawed, is better than a system with more public intervention. It’s an honest disagreement. If we do nothing the second side wins. If we pass interventions, the first side wins.

      In a democracy, we have a tried and true system for settling intractable policy disagreements like this. We hold votes, then we move on. Same as it ever was.

      On other issues, we don’t hold votes and then say “gosh, it was too close and heated, so the only reasonable course is to start over from scratch.” I didn’t think that was owed me the seven times Vice President Cheney cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate in the W era, and I would have felt silly and pathetic making that argument. We have elections to change outcomes, we don’t do do overs.

    2. Joe Loveland says:

      Also, Mike, Obama called the summit to make the case for pushing the current bill across the line, perhaps with accomodations to the current bill, IF accomodations would garner opponents’ support. The opponents didn’t call the summit.

      1. I did misunderstand the origins of the summit, so thanks for clarifying that. I’ll admit to not knowing much about this summit until this morning.

        Still, maybe I’m still missing something, but I don’t see how this is some violation of the democratic process. There’s still work to be done — the bill isn’t yet on Obama’s desk for a signature, right? — and I’m sure all flavors of politician want to affect the outcome of that remaining work.

        “Do over” is perhaps not the most eloquent argument, but it’s not a violation of democracy, is it?

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    This whole fiasco was mismanaged from the start. Neither party was genuine about including the other, and the Dems thought they could pass legislation without the Republicans. They believed their own press clippings about a mandate — yada, yada, yada.

    However, their own soldiers broke ranks and had to be bribed to get back in line.

    How does this keep getting blamed on Republicans, who have plenty of their own problems? I personally dislike Boehner as much as Reid and Pelosi. But the gang that couldn’t shoot straight has shot themselves right in the foot.

    Obama needs better advisors around him, plain and simple, ones that are serious about listening to all ideas and coming up with some the public can get behind. Then let the Republicans come along — or not.

  7. Ellen Mrja says:

    As usual, political cartoons hit right on the money.

    But Newt, how can anyone feel good about where this ship is headed when some 45 million Americans are without insurance of any kind? And don’t tell me they’re illegal immigrants – 79% are U.S. born or naturalized citizens.

    It’s not about Democrats, Republicans, political savy or bungling. It’s supposed to be about we, the people.

  8. Newt says:

    What good is legislation that bankrupts the nation (a point not even disputable) so that low-grade care will be dispensed for all?

    In today’s news there’s a Canadian premier who is abandoning the Canadian system to get heart surgery from – get this – a Canadian doctor who fled to work in the U.S.

    And yes, both Obama and Barney Frank are captured on youtube saying that national insurance is a “first step to single payer.”

    I know this about the Canadian and British public systems: They both work well – until you get sick.

    Healthcare reform must equal healthcare improvement – and we’re not seeing it in Obama’s plan.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Yes, BO wants a single payer system. But he didn’t get a public single payer system. There wasn’t enough political support for it, so Obama had to meet people halfway and settle for the private omni-payer “exchange” system on the table.

      That is called compromise. Contrary to Rep. Boehner’s “my way or do over” attitude, you don’t get everything you want in a democratic process.

      Newt, as I’ve said to you before, I’m not going to argue with you about single payer, because single payer is not on the table and therefore is a mute issue. Much to my chagrin, this proposal being debated today is a million miles away from single-payer.

      1. Newt says:

        Joe – I was pointing out the philosophical and incremental aim of Obama. The genie is out of the bottle now.

        You may think Boehner is overreaching and distasteful, but it’s still within the boundaries of political maneuvering (including but not limited to the Nuclear Option, filibustering, ordering the Sargent at Arms to fetch a Congressman, etc.)

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        Newt, my friend and worthy debate partner, I just can’t see how a wholly private insurance exchange without a public option is anywhere close to a single payer system. I hear you when you say you are worried about a slippery slope, but we would have to slide about a million miles to get to single payer. The creation of Medicare in the 60s moved us much closer to single payer than the creation of a wholly private insurance exchange would.

        As for the “do over” mantra, I agree with the Republican Governor of California, who said, “”I think any Republican that says you should start from scratch, I think that’s bogus talk, and that’s partisan talk.” I can’t think of a time when a major proposal that has passed the House and the Senate has been withdrawn by Republicans or Democrats for a start from scratch do over. It hasn’t happened because there would be no reason to have debates and votes if the debates and votes were rendered meaningless due to continual do overs. As hard as it is to stomach watching Congress now, setting do over precidents would serve to put Congress on a kind of endless loop tape.

      3. PM says:

        I think that if the Republicans want a “do over”, then the onus is on them to propose a realistic compromise, one that would have to be acceptable to the Democrats. They have not come anywhere close to doing so. If they are not willing to propose such a compromise, then they need to be prepared to live with the proposal that the democrats can pass by themselves.

        Of course, they can oppose this, but they need to decide that they are indeed comfortable with that option. If this turns out to be a popular program (like Social Security or medicare), they might not want to be known as the people who opposed it. An interesting bet to place….

  9. Joe Loveland says:

    So, has President Obama compromised?

    He has already compromised and not proposed a single payer system, his stated preference. Not in any live bill.

    He has compromised and not gone with a public option in the mix, a massively popular idea with his base and with Independent voters. He took a pass on a state opt-in public option, a triggered public option, and a non-profit or coop option. Nothing. Not in his proposal.

    He has adopted an idea historically championed by Republicans, a private insurance company exchange. All private. Market competition. Just like Congress has. Centerpiece of the bills.

    He has compromised and backed pilots to test malpractice reforms in state laboratories. That’s in his proposal.

    He has backed a version of the McCain proposal, which he vigorously attacked during the campaign, to tax so-called Cadillac plans, something that his union supporters hate.

    He has backed the Republican idea of more interstate insurance competition, through regional markets with minimum consumer protections assured.

    And through all of this compromising, he hasn’t gotten one Republican vote.

    The bottom line difference that can’t be bridged is over universal coverage. If you want universal coverage with a private system — covering an additional 30 million Americans, as Obama’s proposal does, instead of an additional 3 million, as Boehner’s proposal does — that necessitates that you mandate that people purchase insurance, as we do with car insurance. And helping people with that costs money.

    But if you don’t mandate insurance coverage, you will continue to have massive cost shifting to already overburdened insured Americans. You will also continue to have skyrocketing medical costs, as millions of uninsured Americans delay treatments until they are extremely dangerous and expensive.

    I don’t know if BO has the votes to pass this bad boy, but I honestly don’t know what other compromising he can do and still achieve the goals of universal coverage and cost control.

  10. Ellen Mrja says:

    Nicely put, Loveland. I watched part of the session on C-SPAN and it was excruciating.

    No one was listening to anyone else. Obama was lecturing, and not very persuasively. Some Republicans were down right rude to him. I would have swatted them down for that just to remind them that he is not one of the fellows. He is the president.

    However, Obama irritatingly referred to everyone by first name: “Nancy” this and “John” that. He should have used their honorific titles as they were addressing him as “Mr. President.” Perhaps this small social grace – not too long ago considered de rigueur – would have elevated the discussion. Call me “Senator so-and-so” and I immediately feel a bit more valued about why we’re in the room and why WE (as a collective) need to find a common ground.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Ellen, I agree. Overall, I was proud of how Obama conducted himself yesterday. But that first name thing is disrespectful. When I worked for a Senator, he insisted that we call him by his first name, but that was his specific direction, and the default position for an elected officials should be to use the title of the office. When they are calling you “President,” you should return the respect and call them “Senator/Congressman.”

  11. Joe Loveland says:

    While I think “do over!” is an unreasonable and embarassing argument from a logical standpoint, and a cover for the fact that Repbulicans real goal is to delay and ultimately pass nothing, the argument works extremely well from a political standpoint. After all, at a stage where the inevitable complexity of the issue is overwhelming the public, offering a simple blank slate is a big relief to detail weary citizens.

    But the relief is bound to be short-lived. When you are trying to fix about half a dozen major problems having to do with a sector that makes up one-sixth of the economy, whatever is did-over with the do-over would be just as complex and frustrating for the public to digest.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      Once again, if Dems don’t like the “do over” idea and are willing to throw a token bone into the legislation here and there for Repubs, let them pass their own bill without any “obstructions.”

      They have the means and the power to do so. If they really don’t want to go back to the drawing board, pass what you want or cram it through by reconciliation. Then the disaster or victory will be the Dems to own.

  12. Newt says:

    I leave you with one last immutable truth:

    Healthcare never will be “fixed” until the patient is the customer.

    Ponder the great simplicity and wisdom in that, then look at the 2,400-page Obama train wreck.

  13. Mike Kennedy says:

    Good gief, Charlie Brown.

    No one should make a profit on providing health care, right?

    And while we are at it, why not ban profits on life insurance, long term care insurance and all insurance?

    Then why not ban profits on providing energy, clothes and food. Let’s just have the government provide all of it and cut out the profit makers and companies and all the jobs they provide. We can all just work for the government (last time I checked more and more of us are all the time).

    1. PM says:

      And this will also solve the debate on health care–we no longer have to worry about government provided health care, because it will be government provided pet care! And we can all work for the government like Mike suggests, and be happy!

  14. Mike Kennedy says:

    Our vet probably wouldn’t be bad. He’s done wonders for our two dogs. I bet he could handle treating the rest of us. Plus, I like him. He’s got a great bed side manner and a good sense of humor.

    I just don’t want Milk Bones for a treat and have to get me chin scratched if I’m a “good boy.”

      1. PM says:

        I self insure our 3 dogs, 1 cat, 2 lizards(bearded dragons), and the multiple hissing cockroaches we have.

        Can you get insurance on a hissing cockroach?

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