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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Holding Republicans Accountable For Obstruction

As the earlier staff post noted, the President is going to get a lot of unsolicitied advice about what to say in his big health reform speech tomorrow. And the problem is that there’s so much ground he might cover he could lose the clarity he needs to actually change minds.
But one way or another, he does need to call out Republicans for their deeply irresponsible posture on health reform, even as he tosses a bouquet to the very, very few GOPers who are actually interested in getting legislation enacted. One immediate practical reason for doing this is that Republicans are already preparing to denounce the use of reconciliation, or even an effort to invoke cloture (one or the other is necessary to get anything through the Senate), as some sort of draconian hyper-partisan “nuclear option” or parliamentary trick, as though an up-or-down majority vote on a bill that’s gone through the regular legislative process is something new or sinister. If nothing else, such a presidential dressing-down should discourage Democrats from saying the same stupid stuff about reconciliation or cloture, while making it clear that even those Democrats who intend to vote against health reform legislation shouldn’t conspire to strangle it via a filibuster.
While he’s at it, the president could also aim a tart sentence or two at Republican “alternatives” to health care reform that would get their sponsors tarred and feathered if anyone took them seriously. Given the GOP’s recent efforts to pose as The Party of Medicare, maybe he could draw attention to the vast, demonstrated enthusiasm of congressional Republicans for voucherizing Medicare.
Better yet, perhaps he could come to the podium prepared to offer a deal from Harry Reid that provides for an up-or-down vote on any Republican health “plan” in exchange for an up-or-down vote on actual health reform.
The bottom line is that Republicans are determined to derail health care reform via a filibuster–actual or threatened–and this simple fact needs to be impressed upon the viewing public.

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