Jim Lehrer Worries About 'Problem Democrats,' David Brooks 'Out of His Skin' Against Deem-and-Pass

The Friday night discussion with Mark Shields and David Brooks on the PBS NewsHour was surprisingly heated. First, anchorman Jim Lehrer seemed to suggest the liberal lingo when the "no" votes were "problem Democrats," as opposed to the Pelosi Democrats: 

Where are the -- what -- who are the problem Democrats left right now? We know about the Stupaks and the anti-abortion folks. Who else?

Shields insisted that come the fall, no one will be talking about the process the Democrats used to pass a health-care bill, but Brooks said deem-and-pass was "so repulsive, I'm out of my skin with anger about it." Here's how it unfolded:

SHIELDS: I will be happy to buy dinner for David and any listeners of his selection if he thinks the -- anybody thinks the Republicans are going to run on repeal.

I mean, the first -- the first image you are going to see if of a 6-year-old girl who had been denied coverage under the existing system because the new law, as soon as it is passed, preexisting condition for children is gone. And now she gets, she and her family can get insurance coverage for her illness. That is -- that is a major change.

No Republican is going to say, we're going to change that in the fall. And no one is going to run on it. And no one is going to talk about the process, that we have gone back and forth on this, and is it wrong or is it right? I mean, the Republicans on this remind me very much of Oscar Levant's great line about Doris Day: "I knew her before she was a virgin."

I mean, we took three hours and 40 minutes. We froze the clock in 2003 for three hours in the House of Representatives to switch five votes on the floor to pass prescription drug.

DAVID BROOKS: The process actually does matter. The Nebraska compromise and all these deals that were cut, that actually mattered to people. People not reading the bill matters to people.

I find the deem and pass, this idea that we're not going vote on it, we're just going to deem it passed and then vote on the amendments, I find that so repulsive, I'm -- I'm out of my skin with anger about that.

JIM LEHRER: Why? Why?

DAVID BROOKS: To me, you take responsibility. You take responsibility. If you support something, you vote for it, and then you vote for the amendment. And then you take responsibility.

The idea that you are dodging responsibility, that Nancy Pelosi -- I have a quote here. She said: "I like it," deem and pass, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill." That is a betrayal of everything we teach our children about democracy. And the fact that people are thinking about this means they're so deep in the weeds about trying to get this passed, they have decided the ends justify any means.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis