Weekend Open Thread
by Nathan Empsall, Sat Mar 13, 2010 at 08:41:57 PM EST
Weekend open thread. I just went to the Omaha Film Festival. What about you? What's on your mind?
Jonathan Chait might be the best take on budget reconciliation I've yet seen in the New Republic's "Everything Is Unprecedented."
The conservatives response has been to simply redefine "unprecedented" in ever more narrow terms. Orrin Hatch writes, "The reconciliation process, which from the start is a rare exception to our regular process, has never been used for major social legislation that did not have wide bipartisan support. Never." That's true! It's been used for major social legislation, and it's been used for major budget legislation that did not have wide bipartisan support, but it's never been used for major social legislation that also did not have wide bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, James Joyner argues, "using reconciliation to avoid a supermajority on health care reform would simply be unprecedented." Also true! Using reconciliation to avoid a supermajority? Happened before. Using reconciliation for health care reform? Happened before. But using reconciliation to avoid a supermajority on health care reform? Unprecedented.
The question is why we should care. After all, since history almost never replicates itself in precisely every detail, nearly everything that happens is unprecedented in some way... For instance, the way in which Senate Republicans are using the filibuster this session is completely unprecedented.