While conservatives like Mark Levin went to the radio barricades to protest the unconstitutionality of House Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter just passing over the need for a House vote on the Senate health care bill, the networks stayed quiet last week. It did come up on Thursday night's Countdown on MSNBC.
Lawrence O'Donnell called it the "self-executing rule." I can practically hear Levin yelling "That's right! You liberals will be cutting your own throats with it!" Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein was warming up to the Slaughter solution, suggesting "consistent innovation" is what makes liberalism special:
KLEIN: You`re going to miss this, aren`t you?
O`DONNELL: I am. Now, let`s just leave the Senate parliamentarian aside, who can ruin this dream for everyone. But if they were to try to do this in the House, is there precedent for it? Have they ever before had a rule in the House that indicated the bill you`re voting on will become law only if this other piece of the bill you`re voting on at the same time becomes law? It`s hard to even describe and I can`t think of a single precedent for it.
KLEIN: I can`t think of one. So, you got me stumped, which is not to say it doesn`t mean, is it`s only to say I can`t think of it.
But, you know, the one thing that I would say about House and Senate and congressional processes that it is a process of consistent innovation. That it`s never been done until it`s been done. And all sorts of things are invented at the time.
Reconciliation had never been used to increase the deficit before Bush did it for the tax cuts. You can go on and on down the line where, you know, in response to differing circumstances and our politics changes, they figure out a way to do things and then it becomes a norm in the future from that. So, that they haven`t done, it doesn`t mean they won`t.
O`DONNELL: Ezra, my own conservative approach to this is: I win a lot money on bets, betting on things that have never happened before in the Congress. I lose once in a while. But you mostly win.