Who is the reactionary now?

Ezra Klein has this to say about “the process” now under fire by Republicans:

So far in the health-care debate, Republicans have attacked the legitimacy of private negotiations, parochial dealmaking, the budget reconciliation process, self-executing rules, the Congressional Budget Office’s analyses, and even the constitutionality of the legislation. It’s a good theory: Make people hate Washington and mistrust the legislative process and you’ll make people hate and mistrust what emerges from that process.

But it’s also dangerous. As Republicans well know, private negotiations between lawmakers, deals that advantage a state or a district, and a base level of respect for the CBO’s scores have long been central to the lawmaking progress. As the parties have polarized, reconciliation and self-executing rules (like deem and pass) have become more common — and the GOP’s own record, which includes dozens of reconciliation bills and self-executing rules, proves it.

As anyone can tell who has read this far, Klein is championing the status quo. Private negotiations, not transparency. Deals that advantage a state or district, not equal treatment under the law, parliamentary tricks vs. up or down votes as well as gaming the CBO and blowing off constitutional questions.

And his defense? Well the GOP’s done it too.

His defense is all about the process and how the process has worked in the past and should be left alone. What did he say? It’s a good “theory” but practically it’s “dangerous”.

Is it?

Ironic that the group – “progressives” – who just recently championed transparency are now defending a completely opaque process with private negotiations and special deals isn’t it?

Klein goes on:

The GOP’s answer to this is that health-care reform is important. Stopping the bill is worth pulling out all the stops. And I’m actually quite sympathetic to this view. Outcomes are, in fact, more important than process. But once you’ve taken the stops out, it’s hard to put them back in. Democrats will launch the very same attacks when they’re consigned to the minority, and maybe think up a few new ones of their own.

Pulling out all the stops, as any fair observer would note, is certainly not at all confined to the GOP side (I swear, given my time observing and writing about them, “progressives” or liberals, whatever label they prefer today, are truly irony impaired). On the Democrat side we’ve seen gaming the CBO, leaving out critical health care legislation (doc fix) to make the numbers look better, stupid accounting tricks like double counting, locking the opposing party out of the process and then claiming they’re the “party of no” and parliamentary tricks that would make a banana republic blush.

And then there’s deception like this:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Undercuts it? It destroys it (139 billion deficit reduction over 1o years v. 200 to 250 billion pay out to doctors over 10 years : net -61 to -111 billion even with their numbers over 10 years).

So if “pulling out all the stops” means cleaning up a process like that, I say pull em out even further. And if it comes back to bite the GOP, it would most likely end up being a good thing. Because it would probably mean they’re trying the same sort of crap the Democrats are trying to pull of now.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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