Does this mean they'll start laying odds?

This is why I didn't bother to watch the health care summit. (OK, this and the fact that I was working, and they tend to prefer it if I see patients instead of watching C-SPAN.) Our friends at Slate decided to headline their summit reaction piece thusly:
GOP 1, Obama 1, Democrats 0

I haven't read the article yet, so maybe I'm being unfair. Perhaps it's just chock full of policy details. Wait a sec. I'll read it.

Nope. The entire thing is about appearances, and who "won." Not whose facts or talking points were more accurate. It is a quintessential politics-as-horserace piece, which is frankly all I've really seen coming on the heels of the summit. Who won? Who got in the best "zinger"? How will this shift momentum in the ongoing progress toward the bill's passage or failure?

And this was all that was ever going to result. It was all so much pointless political theater, and right now I'm just really bored with pointless political theater.


  1. You sure it wasn't a hockey game?

  2. Virtually all of the arguments for (and against) HCR are political theater! The lady wearing Obama's name to her grave, the divorced-from-reality provisions of the bill designed to achieve a "saves money" score from the CBO, the SIEU astroturf, and the Tea Party rallies. So many anecdotes, so little data.

    The Administration has failed to convince the public that this is a good plan. If it were popular, it would have passed. But it isn't, and the failure to make the sale falls squarely on the shoulders of the Most Gifted Orator of Our Time (tm). He couldn't close the deal.

  3. "If it were popular, it would have passed." This is ridiculous. If the filibuster was at 55 votes and not 60, forcing ridiculous compromises to get to 60 (like the Nebraska exemption) then the bill would have been both popular and would surely have passed by now.

  4. Sorry, but you can't argue that a lower cloture threshold would imply the bill was popular. The popularity of any bill is not determined by the standard of cloture. The other way round does make sense, though. The ability to achieve cloture is related to the popularity of a bill. Popular sentiment makes defection to the popular side much, much easier, as it should in a representative democracy.

    The second part; if the bill were popular with the public before the compromises (Louisiana Purchase, Cornhusker Kickback, Labor Loophole, and so forth), the compromises would have been unnecessary to get 60 votes! The compromises were necessary because pols feared a public backlash for passing Obamacare. If the people of Maine wanted Obamacare, Sen. Snowe and Collins would have voted for it.