Majority Rule in the Senate on Health Care Reform?

From the New York Times comes this editorial titled "Majority Rule on Health Care".

The piece discusses how difficult it might be to get a broad health care reform bill through the Senate if traditional Senate rules are followed.

The editor argues:
The Democrats are thus well advised to start preparing to use an arcane parliamentary tactic known as “budget reconciliation” that would let them sidestep a Republican filibuster and approve reform proposals by a simple majority.
I wish to point out that part of the reason that independent, moderates were willing to vote for Democrats recently was because of Republican leadership in the Senate threatening to use the Nuclear Option to win their way. I will speak up that my vote was strongly influenced by my disgust at Republicans being willing to throw Senate tradition into the trashcan. I will be no less disgusted by Democratic attempts to do the same.

I also wish to point out that some of the Democrats elected to the Senate were elected because they were moderates are even somewhat conservative. While some of us independents were disgusted with the Republicans, our willingness to vote for the alternative was because they were not liberal extremists. If the Democratic leadership in the Senate now finds a way to cut those we voted for out of the decision making, we might now become just as disgusted with the Democratic Party.

I know that in the past, when I was more willing to vote for Republicans, I was not voting for the extremist partisanship that resulted. When the Republicans attempted to carve out the influence of moderates and conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh started preaching against them I was motivated to revolt. Within the Democratic Party I found fertile grounds to plant my seeds within the party's new willingness to embrace moderates.

If the Democratic Party now insists on attempting to sidestep the power of the moderates who's election they supported, I might have second thoughts about the wisdom of my vote.

If the Democratic members of the Senate who I voted for (Mark Warner and Jim Webb) support this dirty trick I am going to find it more difficult to vote for their reelection.

I joined the rebellion and the revolution. I am wondering if I need to start having second thoughts about victory.

The NY Times editor argues that:
Delay would be foolish politically. The Democrats have substantial majorities in the House and the Senate this year. Next year, as the midterm elections approach, it will be even harder for legislators to take controversial stands. After the elections, if history is any guide, the Democratic majorities could be smaller.
OK, just how deep do Democrats want the election losses to go? Just how many independent, moderate voters do they want to alienate? Perhaps I am unusual as a voter in valuing the traditions of the Senate, but I doubt I am completely alone.


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