Candidate Barack Obama promised a new era of bipartisanship in Washington if Americans put him in the White House.
Less than eight months after Inauguration Day, the New York Times has advised the President to ignore such idealism and ram through Congress a widely unpopular healthcare reform package without the support of even one Republican.
Irrespective of the dangerous precedent and the long-term political ramifications, the Times editorial board recommended the Democrats use a parliamentary manipulation to avoid a Senate filibuster (h/t Chuck Todd):
President Obama’s address to Congress about health care reform on Wednesday is the moment for him to stand tough for a large and comprehensive plan. This is no time to yield on core elements of reform or on the scale of the effort in search of enough Republican support to provide the veneer of bipartisanship, or even the one or two Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster. [...]
We are alarmed at reports that the price for winning over Republicans and conservative Democrats might be a drastically scaled-down plan that would cost not $1 trillion over 10 years but perhaps only $700 billion or much less. That big a reduction would be a mistake. The insurance reforms that people most want — and the insurance industry is willing to accept — depend on achieving near universal coverage to spread the risks over a large group of healthy and unhealthy people. [...]
Rather than yield to Republican intransigence, the Democrats ought to resort to a parliamentary maneuver known as “budget reconciliation,” which would allow them to push through most reforms by majority vote.
Isn't it sad the Times' concern for universal healthcare is greater than for how this parliamentary manipulation will radically change how our government works in the future?
Once such a significant piece of legislation is passed in this fashion, the majority Party in the future will likely resort to this tactic whenever its agenda is threatened by a filibuster.
That the Times doesn't share this downside with its readers is almost as deplorable as calling for such a disgraceful option to be used to pass something poll after poll shows the public doesn't want.
I guess this is another example of how media elites believe they know better than the public what's in their best interest.