Two clips from this afternoon’s briefing, the first via Hengler of Savannah Guthrie making the clown dance and the second via Mediaite of Ed Henry picking up where she left off. The Democrats’ talking point on this is unyielding: The public doesn’t care what process they use to pass the bill and, presumably, won’t ever ever evah care no matter what happens. As I tried to explain last night, that logic is simply insane, and the closer we get to a Supreme Court challenge to the Slaughter strategy, the more insane it becomes. Politico:
No lawyer interviewed by POLITICO thought the constitutionality of the “deem and pass” approach being considered by House Democrats was an open-and-shut case either way. But most agreed that it could raise constitutional issues sufficiently credible that the Supreme Court might get interested, as it has in the past.
“If I were advising somebody,” on whether deem and pass would run into constitutional trouble, “I would say to them, ‘Don’t do it,’” said Alan Morrison, a professor at the George Washington University Law School who has litigated similar issues before the Supreme Court on behalf of the watchdog organization Public Citizen. “What does ‘deem’ mean? In class I always say it means ‘let’s pretend.’ ‘Deems’ means it’s not true.”…
Alison Zieve, director of litigation for Public Citizen, said, “I agree it doesn’t feel good. It seems inconsistent with the wording of the relevant constitutional provision. And then the question is whether the constitution gives them flexibility to adopt procedures to streamline or guide their business.”
Democrats can’t seriously believe that the public would shrug at a Supreme Court challenge that could strike down ObamaCare because we don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no congressional procedure. The reason no one cares right now is because the idea’s only a week old, Pelosi still hasn’t committed to it, and objections to it thus far have been confined mainly to conservative media. That’s changing, as you’re about to see. In fact, here’s a taste of Jack Cafferty’s latest tribute to Madam Speaker on CNN:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may try to pass the controversial health care reform bill without making members vote on it. Unbelievable…
Politically speaking, this is beyond sleazy. It’s meant to protect Democrats – especially those up for re-election in November – from having to make a tough vote. Pelosi says of this process, “I like it… because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.” In Nancy Pelosi’s world, accountability is a dirty word.
There’s a fun slogan for Democrats to run on in November; no wonder some fencesitters in the House are starting to feel extra squeamish. If they have to go to court, even if they win, the media spotlight on the case will raise public awareness about the scumminess of the process ahead of November. If they lose the case, which is possible, they’re ruined twice over: Not only would O-Care be dead but the scumminess would now have actually risen to the level of illegality. And the grand irony would be that there’s really no benefit at this point to using Slaughter instead of just voting up or down on Reid’s bill. The parliamentarian says Obama has to sign something before reconciliation can begin in the Senate and the underlying Senate bill “deemed” passed by the House is the only thing he can sign. So forget the whole “deem” business and vote on the damned thing already. Which, I predict, is exactly what Pelosi will do.