ObamaCare: New Republic Editor Irked at Humble NewsBusters Correspondent

It appears that The New Republic senior editor, Jonathan Chait, is a bit irked at your humble correspondent for pointing out that he seems a to have gone off the deep end on the subject of ObamaCare:

Some of us realized all along that there was no rational reason that the Massachusetts election had to kill health care reform. Fundamentally, the main barrier -- getting sixty votes in the Senate -- had already been crossed. The remaining obstacles are puny. All the Democrats needed to do was have the House pass the Senate bill. If they insisted on changes, most of those could easily be made through reconciliation, which only requires a majority vote in the Senate. Most conservatives paid no attention to this basic reality, though they did indulge in some gloating mockery of those of us who pointed it out. (I've "gone off the deep end." "It is all rather pathetic." Etc.)

The "gone off the deep end" links back to my January 20 NewsBusters article, "New Republic Editor Goes Off Deep End Over Fate of ObamaCare." So was I being unfair to Chait? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please allow me to submit a Jonathan Chait quote from that article in my defense:

Still, it's fairly amazing to me to see the Democrats reacting with such hysteria. It's not just moderates trying to position themselves to the center. Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner are acting like pathetic, emotional cowards. They seem to think that one very attractive candidate beating a hapless foe amounts to a national referendum to which every other member of Congress is bound.

Of course, reading Chait's current TNR article, I have to amend my initial assessment to conclude that poor Jonathan has gone even further off the deep end if he is actually counting on reconciliation to save ObamaCare. Note the utter divorce from reality as Chait describes his imagined route for passage via reconciliation. He makes it sound almost routinely easy:

Now, of course, the problem is that they can't mesh the Senate bill with the House bill using regular order, because Republicans will filibuster it. But most of the points of negotiation between House and Senate concern taxes and spending -- exactly the kinds of things that reconciliation is designed for. So it's fairly easy to just have the House pass the Senate bill, then use reconciliation to eliminate the Nebraska Medicaid subsidy and change the mix of taxes that pay for new coverage. Indeed, this process is probably easier than getting another 60 votes in the Senate would have been even if Martha Coakley had won.

Yes, imagine going up to House members and asking them to commit political suicide by voting for a Senate bill that almost all admit is fatally flawed in the hope that somehow the Senate will be able to fix the bad parts via a reconciliation process that is highly doubtful will even work. 

Chait concludes with this observation:

The Democrats may not win, but I'm pretty sure they're going to try. The conservative freakout is going to be something to behold.

Actually, Jonathan, the liberal freakout is going to be something to behold when they find out that reconciliation won't save their beloved ObamaCare. Among the many reasons is the simple fact that there is an April deadline as to when reconciliation can even be achieved. So somehow the House of Representatives must pass a hated bill which is then expected to be fixed by the Senate via a reconciliation that can be delayed with endless amendments...all in the matter of a few weeks. 

Set your reconciliation freakout clock, Jonathan. The seconds, minutes, hours, days, until time runs out are ticking away towards a going off the deep end Super Nova freakout.


Oh, and Jonathan, the NewsBusters Eye of Sauron continues to remain focused upon you.

Health Care New Republic Jonathan Chait
P.J. Gladnick's picture