Matt Yglesias posits a legislative maneuver to split the health care legislation into two parts: one with various insurance industry reforms, creating the health insurance exchange, an employer mandate, and a weak and underfunded co-op that would get 60 votes. And a second bill passed through the reconciliation process which would only need 50 votes which would strengthen and tweak the co-op to make it stronger – and get it closer to what progressives want.
To a great degree, those with power can often just push and get away with anything. Look at George W. Bush’s behavior on tax cuts, on the Medicare prescription drug benefit, on the Iraq war – or Bill Clinton on Bosnia. But in this climate, this type of trick isn’t what we need. A show of force whereby Obama pushes the Democrats to forthrightly endorse a bill would be – and play – much better in my opinion. Shenanigans – while legal – can be forgotten in time if the legislation proves popular; but a show of force would be more effective on almost every other level.