Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (March 14, 2010)

Tom Brokaw is hosting Meet the Press today.  The conversation today is all about the process behind passage of the healthcare bill.  Per usual, the ruminations in parentheses are parenthetical to the conversation and belong only to me.

David Axelrod is representing the Obama Administration view point.

As the conversation begins Brokaw has run through the process, wherein the House will pass the Senate bill and will pass by simple majority changes (amendments) to the bill in the reconciliation process.  The Senate will pass the reconciliation bill and the President will sign it.

Axelrods retort is to say that the procedure doesn’t matter as much as does the outcome.  The U.S. voter shouldn’t have to live with bankruptcy because of their healthcare concerns.

Brokaw showed Scott Brown’s argument that though he supported Obama’s jobs bill, nevertheless come the spring Obama is still talking about the health care bill.  Axelrod’s argument is that the President simply wants to extend to all Americans benefits that Massachusetts voters enjoy.

TB: Can you see that Demcrats are afraid to run for November with teh Senate bill

DA: The insurance companies and the GOP are already working together. All that will happen if the bill does not pass is that the Democrats will not have any accomplishments to talk up.

TB: Okay so you are confident this bill will pass?

DA: Yes, we are as sure as can be.

TB: Before we go, what are your thoughts on Israel’s decision to increase 

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is up next. As is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.  (The whip is the party official who counts votes for passage of a bill)

TB: Sir, as of this morning do you have the votes to pass teh Senate bill

JC: No we do not have the votes (This admission is honest and, for that, amazing). But we will have the votes.  Because House Democratic members know the cost of not passing the bill.

Dick Durbin is supporting the Senate view of passage of the bill.

TB: Congressman Clyburn, do you have assurances that hte Senate will pass the reconciliation bill?  Senator Durbin?

DD: The Senate will pass the reconciliation bill that the House will pass.

TB: Will the Senate bill come out of reconciliation with the Nebraska and Louisiana deals stripped? 

DD: We will extend the Nebraska deal to all states.  And in so far as Louisiana is concerned, every county in LA is under a state of emergency and we need to help out that state.  (That’s to say LA’s deal will not be stripped out)

TB: Congressman Clyburn.  What about Congressman Stupak’s resistance to language that he argues allows federal funding of abortion in the Senate bill?

JC: I think Congressman Stupak will vote for the bill.

TB: Jobs.  Jobs.  Jobs.

JC: I can say I expect numbers to hold up.

DD: I can promise you if the GOP stops filibustering and some GOP Senator cross the isle to work with us, then we will create jobs for Illinois.  But with filibuster, not a single job will be created.

Karl Rove is up next.  The conversation, as before, is about the health care bill.

TB:  Is the Obama Administration doing the same thing that the Bush Admin. did on social security.  That is to say, did they go forward without lining up their ducks in order.

=KR: The Obama Administration is not doing what we did on social security.  We had a bipartisan commission with Daniel Patrick Moynihan.  The Obama Administration has gone forward with a obnoxious bill that the Americans do not support.  He began his administration with wide support to reform health care and now he stands on the opposite side of the spectrum with majority support against going forward with the bill.  The Obama Administration now stands against the American people.  He has ways of working with the American people, but only if he goes with the parts of the bill that are supported by the people.

TB: Lets talk about the War in Iraq.  Democracy is being contested in Iraq. Lets talk about that.  If you had knowledge of what you know now would you have gone to war on the grounds you did?

TR: We would have found other ways of constraining Saddam Hussein.

TB: One of the ways we justified the war was to justify the costs of war by saying that the Iraqis would share the oil and would part of the cost would be paid for by oil exports.  That never happened.

TR: That was never the argument for war.  We never were interested in Iraq’s oil.

TB: That’s not what I said.  I said that one argument was that the costs would be low, the payoff humanitarian and just. 

David Brooks and Tom Friedman are up next.  (Oh great!)

David Brooks likes risk averse politicians.  Go with singles.  Stay away from home runs.  

TB:  As a citizen I’m afraid that the consequences of the bill will play out only when the bill is passed. (Ummm, all bills are like that!!)

DB: The cost savings are bogus. The excise tax that was supposed to pay for the bill has been gutted.  Its not obvious that will control costs over the long-term.  But I understand the moral argument for the bill. It will cover 30 million people.  So I understand.  But the fiscal risk involved forces me to be against the bill as of now.

TF: One party democracy is worse that one party autocracy because if we can obtain an optimal proposal, the one party autocracy can implement it.  One party democracy has to make all kinds of compromises so that the outcome is suboptimal.  (Ummmm. Mr. Friedman you are wrong.  Democracy is justified by outcomes and by procedures.  In the latter case, its obviously a superior justification  of democracy that more opinions  are elicited than in an autocracy (a condition that pertains to democracy as such) and that in a democracy,  a majority opinions that usually rules the day (this argument only contingently applies to democracy, since if autocracies made rules by majority opinion, its justificatory status would be equal to a one-party democracy, but would also be sub-optimal according to Mr. Friedman)  In the former case, that of justifying democracy by outcomes, it is quite likely that democracies would elicit optimal policies in the first place.   With a broader scope of investigation, policy-makers are more likely to run into a better policy initiative than in one-party autocracy. So apart from the kerfuffle that we’re experiencing between liberal and more conservative democrats and the interference that is causing, Tom Friedman is just wrong.  Baldly wrong. His rhetoric sounds good.  But he’s just wrong.)

TB: Israeli government announces 1600 new settlements in East Jerusalem just as Joe Biden is beginning to negotiate with Bibi Netanyahu.  That was an audacious move.   Hillary Clinton has gone forward to say that the move was an insult to Joe Biden and the U.S.

TB: Tom Friedman.   Whaddaya think?  

TF: I think the President. VP and the Secy. of State did just the right thing.  We gave Israel a lot. We protected Israel by taking out Saddam Hussein, we protected Israel’s culpability in the Gaza War.  We are have built a coalition against Iran and that works well to Israel’s advantage.  We gave more defense money to Israel then ever before.  And the Israeli government just did what it did.

~ by Faheem Haider on March 14, 2010.

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