James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Will Dems have the guts for budget reconciliation?

Posted by James McPherson on March 1, 2010

Though I’d be surprised by almost any evidence of a Democratic backbone, I do hope Congressional Democrats have the courage to go ahead and try to pass health care reform through reconciliation–a process that is far from “the nuclear option” that some Republicans and news commentators (and, naturally, Fox News in a “news” story) have wrongly called it.

In fact, the nuclear option is something that only Republicans have actually threatened to use, taking pride in the term a few years ago. Reconciliation is much closer to the “up-0r down vote” that Republicans also made popular at the same time they were threatening to nuke the filibuster process.

Ezra Klein offers a useful reconciliation primer, explaining what it is and how it has been used in the past (most often by Republicans, and often to make sweeping changes, including with health care, that would not have passed otherwise).

The Plum Line blog also offers a handy guide to Republicans who have voted for it in the past (including every Republican senator who attended last week’s health care summit). In the words of one Fox News writer, on this issue, “GOP objectors could not be more fundamentally hypocritical.”

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