Dead on! I don't think they'll actually go through with it, though. Heads would roll...This is absolutely horrible.
No, I'm not talking about them putting the Public Option back in. Enough people will be talking about that.
I'm talking about reconciliation.
While yes, this is TECHNICALLY legal, this is incredibly bad precedent. Reconciliation is there for budgetary purposes only. Primarily it seems in the cases where a filibuster could potentially cause the government to simply not have a working budget or to institute budgetary changes to increase the flow of money into the government. Even a Democrat, Robert Byrd, highlighted this issue when he was in opposition of Bill Clinton's attempt to use it in 1993 for HIS health care plan stating such a use was out of bounds for what reconciliation was meant for.
The last time it was done successfully for a "questionable", ie not directly budgetary reason, was in regards to the Bush Tax cuts. At the times Democrats and liberals were against such a use but it was at least a realistic stretch, as the purpose was at least extremely closely tied to budgetary since it was taxes which is directly tied to revenue brought in. Also, while questionable, it was at least reasonably similar to past uses of it.
The last time it was attempted to be done questionably and failed to happen was with Republicans attempting to use it for ANWR and the democrats, rightfully, being upset at the attempted use and putting enough political pressure to stop it from happening.
This time it is most definitively NOT budgetary. Any attempts to tie it to a budgetary method would take an amount of political acrobatics so large that it'd be qualified for Cirque de Soleil. This would be akin to saying that a tax on automakers to limit carbon emissions was Military legislation by attempting to tie it to less reliance on foreign oil and then to national security and then to terrorism and then to the War on Terror. Technically right? Sure. Realistically and understandably? Absolutely not.
If the Dem's actually do this, and do this on such a HUGELY contested bill (This entire bill makes the arguments about ANWR seem like deciding between going to Pizza Hut or Papa Johns after the little league game), especially interjecting an even more controversial provision, then this is going to cause a seismic shake up in the fabric of our Political Culture.
By invoking Reconciliation on something so far from its intended purpose, and so amazingly controversial, when in the past one of their own members even stated such a use was not in bounds for something similar (93's attempt) the Democrats are opening the flood gate for this to become the political norm rather than the EXTREME and appalling exception they're doing now.
Will this make it right when the Republicans do something similar in 2 or 4 or 8 years down the line, possibly on something even LESS tied to the budget or even more than just once? Absolutely not. However when that happens the Democrats and Liberals of this country will first have to look at themselves in the mirror and realize this as much their fault as anyones for setting the precedent and opening the flood gates for this. Much like their repeated filibustering in the early 2000's led to the even increased filibustering of the current Republicans that is so often bitched about, so too will this usher in a continuance of this era of disgustingly low politics which serves no one but the politicians.
If this goes forward as planned it is a dark day and a black mark upon America....not because its "socialist" to require health care, not because of the "abomination" of the Public Option, but because of the underhanded and despicable methods that the Democrat Party will go to force down the throats of the American People a bill that is one of the most highly contest, controversial, and divisive bills in recent memory.
This is not Change we can believe in.
This is not post partisanship.
This is anything but a divergence from politics as usual.
This is despicable, pathetic attempt at extreme partisan politics and if signed by Obama the man should have his picture in the dictionary next to "Fraud" based on his rhetoric and promises given during the campaign.