The bill’s destined to be vetoed, of course, but unless the reconciliation process ends up eating lots of time, there’s really no harm to it. One conservative activist told Politico he’s worried that if the GOP uses the same arcane procedural move to undo O-Care that Democrats used to pass it, Obama will turn around and whine that Republicans are doing the same thing Democrats did when they were in power. But … why would he say that? If he means to imply that reconciliation is a dubious strong-arm tactic, then he’ll be forced to explain why it was okay for his party to use it to pass the law in the first place. Why would he want to make a by-any-means-necessary argument for ObamaCare when the House GOP’s poised to make an example of Jon Gruber for the very same attitude? “Reconciliation’s only cool when we do it” would be a lovely complement to Gruber’s “we had to pull a fast one on you schmucks” tribute to health-care reform.

Reconciliation is a silly symbolic gesture under the circumstances but some GOP base voters will consider it a moral victory to put a bill on Obama’s desk, so there you go. But there’s a catch, notes David Drucker at the Examiner. Actually, several catches:

“That will be one avenue for us,” incoming Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters on Wednesday, when asked where reconciliation fit into Republicans’ plans to dismantle Obamacare. “Of course, in order to do that, we have to pass a budget, which hasn’t happened since 2009.”…

As Cornyn noted, repealing portions of Obamacare using reconciliation is only possible if 51 Senate Republicans (and 218 House Republicans) can agree on a budget resolution. Passing a budget is what makes a reconciliation vehicle possible. That means some of the GOP’s biggest budget hawks — those who often break with their colleagues and oppose spending bills as insufficiently austere — will have to support a consensus budget plan…

Additionally, the reconciliation tool can only be used once, in concert with passing a fiscal 2015-16 budget proposal. Using the maneuver to dismantle Obamacare necessarily means it cannot be used to overcome presumed Democratic filibusters to pass other conservative priorities that have tax and spending implications, entitlement reform among them…

“There’s going to be open and vibrant debate over how to use reconciliation,” a GOP lobbyist predicted. “Leadership is going to have to educate members over what can and can’t be done.”

Could McConnell find 51 votes to pass a budget resolution? You’d think that’d be easy now that the GOP controls a majority in the Senate but it’s harder than it sounds. Yesterday I noted that with so many red- and purple-state Democrats willing to make nice with Republicans over the next few years, McConnell might have as many as 63 votes for popular bills. I don’t know if any of those Dems would vote for a budget bill that involves repealing ObamaCare, though. They need to retain some goodwill with the Democratic base; voting for a resolution to nuke O-Care, even if it’s sure to be vetoed, might be a betrayal too far. Could McConnell find 51 votes from his own Republican caucus, then, assuming that Cassidy will win in Louisiana next month and give him 54 seats? I’m not so sure of that either. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio will all be eager to show GOP primary voters how conservative they are by resisting a budget bill that’s sure to have things in it that tea partiers won’t like. If McConnell loses them, will Mike Lee, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, and Ben Sasse all vote with leadership? If even one of them defects, how does McConnell get to 51?

What Cornyn (and McConnell) are saying in the excerpt here, I think, is that Cruz and his conservative comrades have a choice to make if they’re serious about repealing O-Care via reconciliation. They can either abandon this reconciliation push and be purists on the budget bill or abandon purity on the budget bill in the name of facilitating reconciliation and repeal. What move will Cruz make? (Probably not the same one that Paul makes, I’d bet.) Unless McConnell somehow gets to 52 without him, his choice will matter.