Lightning Round: Is Health-Care Reform a Fait Accompli?

  • Yesterday, I said I'd be amazed if Democrats could hold their caucus together for a cloture vote, particularly one with a public option included. Chuck Schumer has a different take, simply asking how do you introduce a bill without a public option when the majority of the House Democrats and all but four or five Senate Democrats are for it. Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait all but declares victory. I still think the "moderates" who are holding out are uninterested in how their intransigence looks to the rest of the Democratic Party, but knowing the pressure's on makes it all the more likely reform passes a floor vote.
  • Russ Feingold (D-WI) held hearings today to look into the Obama administration's use of "czars" to coordinate big-ticket policy pushes, but it's unclear what Feingold is looking to get out of it. The White House explained in some detail what each of the positions is, where it originated, and what they do, but Feingold still thinks this is a political dodge rather than a substantive response. And color me unimpressed with the theory that Feingold is trying to raise the level of discourse -- discourse that enjoys such distinguished residences as the Glenn Beck show.
  • National Review editor Rich Lowry has become something of a connoisseur of the theory that Barack Obama is generating such a backlash with his "overreach" that he's all but handing the country back to the GOP. First of all, concepts like a "mandate," "overreach," and "political capital" are so vague that they are resistant to any sort of rigorous polling analysis, so basing a candidate's electoral fortunes on them is pointless. But then Lowry decides he needs to insult our intelligence further, observing that there was one politician who didn't succumb to ideological hubris: "[President Reagan] realized he'd been elected to fix the economy and set about trying to fix the economy and subordinated other ideological goals to that imperative" (emphasis mine).
  • Remainders: Everything's bigger in Texas, even the hypocrisy; clearly Sonia Sotomayor is an intellectual lightweight not fit for service on the high court; and Alan Grayson's audacity didn't begin with "die quickly."

--Mori Dinauer