Archive for September, 2009

Yesterday, I wrote about Joe Biden’s outlandish statement that the stimulus bill was working better than he could possibly imagine. I just finished reading this article, which suggests that it isn’t working so well:

Hillcrest Rural Schools in north-central Kansas is set to get nearly $7,000 in federal stimulus money to help its disadvantaged students. Only one glitch: The district doesn’t exist anymore. It closed in 2006 when it was merged into another nearby district.

Hillcrest was one of nearly 14,000 school districts or local education agencies nationwide that the U.S. Department of Education reported would get stimulus funds under its Title I program.

Mr. Vice President, why would you say that the stimulus bill is working better than your wildest dreams when checks are being sent out to phantom school districts?

Didn’t President Obama put VP Biden in charge of monitoring the flow of ARRA dollars and to report back on the benefits that have happened as a result of the spending? In fact, he did. How did it go unnoticed that 14,000 non-existent “school districts or local education agencies nationwide” got stimulus checks? If that’s the Obama administration’s idea of a watchdog, they’re better off finding someone who actually cares about providing oversight. They’d be better off if they just hired ProPublica for the job:

In Kansas, 11 school districts that no longer exist are on the U.S. Department of Education’s distribution list for stimulus funds. They are set to receive nearly $600,000.

We found these school districts when Kirby Ross, managing editor of the Phillips County Review in Phillipsburg, Kan., alerted us that our county-by-county stimulus tracker [1] included two districts in his area that didn’t exist. That prompted us to do some more digging.

A little old blog can track this spending but Joe Biden, the man that “nobody messes with”, armed with a huge staff to track ARRA spending, can’t find it and prevent it?

Thinking about Biden’s failure to provide meaningful oversight on ARRA funds raises other questions. Why I should trust this administration to find $500,000,000,000 in Medicare wasteful spending when it can’t identify nonexistent school districts? Why should I think that they’re interested in being the public’s watchdog? Thus far, I haven’t seen anything they’ve done that proves that they’re interested in watching out for my wallet.

I’ve heard this administration talk about fiscal restraint. I can’t deny that. Still, I haven’t seen anything that can be viewed as proof that this administration is serious about getting spending under control. For that matter, I’ve seen nothing from the Democrats’ majorities that makes me think that they’ll look into where the money is being spent.

During the 2006 campaign, Democrats whined that the Republican congress hadn’t conducted proper oversight on the Bush administration. Democrats campaigned that they would conduct oversight hearings. I took that to mean that they’d conduct witch hunt after witch hunt on the Bush administration. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, this Democratic congress won’t look into where the money is being spent. I haven’t even heard of them asking for an inspector general’s investigation for stimulus funds.

This is what happens when people hear what they want to hear instead of doing real due diligence. It’s what happens when people accept a politician at their word without verifying if their actions match their actions. President Obama said all the right things during the campaign. Unfortunately for the American people, his words haven’t matched his actions. Unfortunately, Joe Biden’s words are worthless.

That’s all I need to not trust this administration.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

In an interview with Al Hunt, hardline progressive John Podesta said that the out-of-control deficits are justification for adding a value-added tax to our tax burden:

John Podesta compared the nation’s current budget crisis to the situation former President Bill Clinton faced in 1993 and said some form of a value-added tax is “more plausible today than it ever has been.”

“There’s going to have to be revenue in this budget,” said Podesta, Clinton’s former chief of staff and co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s transition team, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing today.

Podesta said Obama will begin by ending the upper-income tax cuts enacted under his predecessor, President George W. Bush. “Then you have to look at whether that gets you far enough of the way,” he said.

In other words, the VAT would be added to the burden caused by the income and payroll taxes. That’s the perfect way to run the economy into the ground.

Comparing the expanding economy that President Clinton inherited with this economy is intellectually dishonest. That isn’t shocking since Podesta is a spinmeister through and through. He’ll willingly say anything at any time to win the fight. If that means that he has to say something he doesn’t believe, then that’s what he’ll do. In fact, it’s what he’s done when he served in the Clinton administration.

What’s more important than just the call for a VAT is the why question’s answer. Here’s the why question: Why do we need both a VAT, an income tax and a payroll tax? Here’s the answer to that question: Adding a VAT is a great way to exert control on people while paying for an increasingly expanding agenda.

Podesta’s ideas radical, which means that Podesta and others like him must be stopped. To not stop his agenda means dire consequences for America.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this Hill Magazine article, Speaker Pelosi is still insisting on pushing a ton of Blue Dogs into political oblivion:

House Democratic leaders could decide the basic outlines of their healthcare bill by Friday after a sharply divided rank and file spent Thursday evening hashing out the shape of the legislation.

Centrist and liberal Democrats have been warring over whether to include a government-run “public option” to compete with private insurance companies, and other factions are debating whether to pay the cost of the plan with an income surtax on the wealthy.

The fight leaves Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with a difficult choice.

If she chooses a public option, she could lose the votes of many Blue Dogs and other centrist lawmakers. If she scraps the public option, she could lose the votes of liberals. Even with the sizable majority of Democrats, either decision might cost enough votes to kill the bill, as Republicans appear united against it.

I think Speaker Pelosi would willingly sacrifice a bunch of Blue Dogs if that’s what it takes to pass single-payer health care legislation.

Blue Dogs say that if Pelosi follows through on including a public plan, it won’t have enough votes on the floor. Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), a prominent Blue Dog, said there probably isn’t enough support for any one approach within the Democratic Caucus to get the needed 218 votes. He said Pelosi should take a sharp turn to the center and see if she can pull together centrist Democrats and centrist Republicans.

“Somebody’s got to find a way to convince Republicans they’re not the party of ‘no,’” Boyd said.

Rep. Boyd needs to ditch the talking points. They’re insulting. Republicans have said no alot because they’re opposed to legislation that will destroy what’s left of the economy. Thus far, that’s the only type of legislation that the Democrats have proposed. The stimulus is a failure. The UAW bailouts were too expensive to be considered successes. The jobs that President Obama promised would be created if we passed the stimulus haven’t materialized.

If Democrats had actually worked with Republicans on the stimulus and on health care, there undoubtedly would’ve been alot more good legislation that would’ve gotten true bipartisan support. Instead, the Democrats have followed President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel. Instead, Democrats are about to run off a cliff.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Somebody needs to get Slow Joe back on his meds or on his teleprompter fast because it’s apparent that he’s suffering from delusions. Here’s a quote about how the stimulus is working:

“In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well.”

Fortunately, House GOP leader Boehner is there to correct him:

The Vice President is wildly out-of-touch if he thinks the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ has worked when the nation’s unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in decades.

Earlier this year, Democrats promised the American people that the so-called ‘stimulus’ would create jobs immediately and keep the unemployment rate from going above eight percent. Some 2.4 million jobs have been lost since the Democrats’ plan was enacted. Now, Democrats in Washington are attempting to claim it is working even while predicting an extended period of severe joblessness. They can’t have it both ways.

Millions of unemployed American workers are being left behind by this administration’s economic policies. A jobless recovery is not what the American people were promised. Republicans have proposed smart policies to help hard-working families and small businesses across America weather this storm and get back to creating jobs.

Vice President Biden is cheerleading when there’s nothing to cheer about. Economic growth isn’t happening. Jobs aren’t being created. Deficits are skyrocketing. Government is taking over industries.

Ask Dave Kleis how well he thinks the stimulus is working. Ask New Flyer how well they think it’s working. I’ll bet the proverbial ranch that their opinion of the stimulus is dramatically differently than Vice President Biden’s opinion.

Mike Pence also jumped all over Biden’s comments:

Unless the Vice President’s measure of stimulus success is the highest unemployment rate in 26 years, then it is hard to fit his wildest dreams with reality. The reality is the Obama Administration promised that borrowing $787 billion would keep our nation’s unemployment below 8 percent. Now, after eight months of stimulus spending, more than two million jobs have been lost and unemployment is quickly approaching 10 percent.

Never in our wildest dreams did we expect the Administration’s forecasts to be so far off. Let’s give the American people back their hard-earned money, and work together on a real economic recovery plan based on tax relief for working families and fiscal discipline in Washington.

I’m betting that more people agree with Chairman Pence’s statement than with Vice President Biden’s statement. I think that alot of people are questioning this administration’s forecasts. They’ve been off dramatically in terms of their deficit projections. Simlilarly, they’ve been off dramatically on job creation/unemployment forecasts, too.

I wouldn’t doubt it if Vice President Biden is worried if he’ll be asked to serve again in a second Obama administration. After all, he’s in charge of monitoring the stimulus progress. Thus far, the stimulus has stunk it up in the American people’s eyes.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Based on this video, I’d say that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus is feeling extremely fatigued:

Based on the exchange in this video, I’d say that Sen. Baucus is feeling stressed. I’ve never trusted him because he seemed like a ‘too-clever-by-half’ politician. Still, I’ve never seen him this combative before. I suspect that that’s because he’s under alot of pressure from Rahm Emanuel, the Nutroots and the CBO. I can’t imagine the political consequences of failing to get this passed quickly.

Everything about the path this legislation is taking says that someone’s trying to pull a fast one on the American people. Ernest Istook summarizes it perfectly here:

So those who want to read the bill cannot — because there is no bill. Instead, senators are working from a mere outline (if 200 pages can be called “mere”) by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., plus 564 “conceptual” amendments. Only after Baucus’ committee approves it would staff be instructed to go back and write a bill that had already been approved! That could run to at least 1,500 pages.

It’s a crafty solution to the problem described by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., “What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

Democrats such as Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, claim that it’s better to work from a “plain English” outline rather than the arcane language often found in complex legislation. But how would senators be certain that the ultimate gobbledygook is a correct translation if they don’t review it before voting? In essence, senators are denying lay citizens and learned experts the ability to monitor the work, to help avoid unintended consequences and to blow the whistle on intended ones.

While I’m worried about the unintended consequences of this legislation, I’m equally worried about the intended consequences that the Democrats’ legislation will carry with it. The adage that “the devil is in the details” should be our guidepost. What the Democrats are essentially doing is asking the American people to trust them.

To this point, nothing they’ve done indicates that they’re trustworthy.

Another indicator that something is wrong with this legislation is a brief exchange between Kent Conrad and Sen. Baucus. Sen. Conrad asked if they’d heard anything new from CBO since they started the mark-up. Sen. Baucus’ response was chilling to American taxpayers: he said that he’d heard from them but that “it isn’t something” that he wanted to talk about in committee.

My bet is that the deficit-neutral scoring that the legislation got before it was introduced has disappeared. My bet is that the bill has gotten considerably more costly and that it’s running a significant deficit during the first decade.

That’s purely an opinion at this point but it’s only an opinion because the bill’s real language isn’t posted online.

The fact that these idiots are hiding the bill from us is reason enough to melt down the Senate switchboard. King is particularly upset with the Democrats’ hiding the bill’s language from us. First he notes Tom Carper’s rationalization:

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) described his attempts at reading the legislative language of a bill: “You read it and say, ‘What did that say?'” The committee, he said, uses “plain language so that even I can understand” a bill.

Next King registers his disapproval of Carper’s rationalization:

I wouldn’t accept that excuse from my students. Why do Delaware voters accept it from Carper?

The Finance Committee Democrats should be, but won’t be, embarrassed about this admission. Think about this: King puts higher expectations on his students than Senate Democrats put on themselves. That’s unforgiveable.

Told that it would take two weeks to comply with the Bunning amendment, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said, “If it takes two more weeks, it takes two more weeks. I don’t understand, what is the rush?”

Yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants the bill on the floor by the start of October and says he’s willing to cancel the Oct. 10 Columbus Day recess to move the bill. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is talking about similar quick action.

By controlling both the calendar and the available information, proponents try to control communication, public awareness, and the all-important political spin.

Republicans have rightly criticized Sen. Snowe for being a RINO. Still, I’ve been impressed with how steadfast she’s been in insisting on a transparent process and with keeping the cost of the bill under control. She’s been a good soldier throughout.

It’s time that Sen. Baucus and other Democrats, minus Blanche Lincoln, were reminded that they work for us, that our wishes are their commands. In fact, it’s time to contact them and tell them that they’d better start listening better, which means that they need to post the bill in its arcane language ASAP.

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Cross-Posted at California Conservative

Last night, I attended a fundraiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert as a member of the press. The event was held at the home of former state Rep. Jim Knoblach. Jim now serves as Seifert’s campaign manager.

While I won’t take a position on who I’ll support at this time, I can report that Marty is a force to be reckoned with, both for the GOP nomination and in the general election.

It’s apparent that regulatory and fees reform will be a priority in a potential Seifert administration. During his presentation, Rep. Seifert highlighted the fact that a distiller’s license in Minnesota costs $30,000 annually in fees. In Iowa, that distiller’s license costs $350 per year. (After the presentation, a friend who works in the aeronautics business told me that the licensing fee in Minnesota is $3,000, while it’s only $300 in South Dakota, which is quite a dramatic difference.)

While it’s accurate to say that fees reform would be a major part of Marty’s economic agenda, it’s equally true that Marty wants to focus on the principle of limited government, I suspect because that’s the only way we can break out of the DFL’s never-ending cycle of increasing taxes.

It’s also clear that Marty’s campaign won’t take Central Minnesota for granted. There’s alot of GOP votes here in Central Minnesota. Marty’s campaign won’t be satisfied with only winning the base. Their plan is to engage independents with a distinctly common sense conservative message.

Attending the event had other benefits than just taking in Marty’s presentation. I got to talk with Mike LeMeiur, who lost a tight race to Al Doty in 2008, losing by only 76 votes in a definitely DFL-friendly year. That DFL-friendly mood is quickly evaporating, thanks mostly to people’s disenchantment with President Obama’s and Speaker Pelosi’s radical agenda.

In fact, people were frequently mentioning how independents are fleeing the Democratic Party like they were selling radioactive waste. One person told me that the Tarrance Group, one of the most reputable polling companies out there, said that independents age 45 and older are really souring on the Democrats’ agenda.

If that’s the care, and I think that’s accurate, then Democrats are facing a potentially miserable election cycle.

The other noticeable thing at the event is the enthusiasm of the activists there. Conservatives nationwide have been discouraged the last 2 cycles. That attitude has disappeared entirely.

If I’m invited to other candidates’ events, I’ll file reports on them, too.

One final thing that was noticeable was that Marty hadn’t lost his sense of humor. That was apparent when he said that “Republicans have an embarrassment of riches. The Democrats have just embarrassments.”

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Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee defeated a GOP-sponsored amendment that would’ve required the committee to post the Baucus bill online for 72 hours. Here’s how MSNBC reported it:

During the mark-up of the Senate Finance Committee’s health-care bill this morning, Senate Democrats were successful in defeating a GOP-sponsored amendment that would have delayed the bill’s passage.

While it’s true that the amendment would’ve caused a delay in passing the bill, it’s equally true that it would’ve provided greater transparency, too.

The amendment, sponsored by GOP Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, would have required that the legislative language and the final cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office be posted on the committee’s Web site for 72 hours before the committee votes on the final bill.

While the amendment, on its face, may seem reasonable by providing transparency for Congress and the public to read the bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said it would take at least two weeks for the staff to write the bill that way.

The practice at the Senate Finance Committee during the past 30 years, under both the leadership of Democrats and Republicans, is that the committee votes on bill using “conceptual language,” or what some call “plain English.” No other committee works under this practice.

While conceptual language may have been the standard in the past, Republicans say this bill is too big, too important, and impacts too many people to handle it as business as usual.

I don’t care what the practice of the Senate Finance Committee has been. This is an important piece of legislation and alot of people want to read the bill. Just because alot of career politicians won’t read the bill doesn’t mean that the American people won’t read it. Somebody’s got to. If Congress won’t read the bills, then it’s We The People’s responsibility. (In essence, we’re becoming the check and balance system for lazy politicians.)

This is a perfect example of what’s fueling the TEA Party movement. Career politicians are refusing to do the most elemental part of their jobs, then essentially telling the American people what they will or won’t do.

THEY WORK FOR US!!! THEY DON’T TELL US WHAT THEY WILL OR WON’T DO!!! PERIOD!!! WE TELL THEM!!!

If Democrats keep practicing the politics of ‘We’ve never done it that way before’, then alot of those Democrats will be collecting retirement checks in January, 2011, because the American people are demanding total accountability. If this group refuses to be transparent in their actions, then we’ll replace them with honest politicians.

The Sunlight Foundation’s Lisa Rosenberg summarizes the 72-Hour Rule well in this post:

Had there been a 72-hour rule in place before the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, due consideration could have been given to whether the vast expansion of the federal government’s ability to engage in secret searches of U.S. citizens was warranted. Had there been a 72-hour rule in place when Congress passed the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act of 2007, consumer advocates could have warned Members of Congress that the bill included weak safety standards for FDA reviews of drugs and medical devices. Had a 72-hour rule been in place before any omnibus appropriations bill was passed, billions of dollars of wasteful government spending could have been eliminated.

It’s obvious that the 72-hour rule would’ve improved alot of legislation. That begs this question: Shouldn’t we take our time more often and get the legislation right rather than operate from the premise that ‘We’ve got to move fast because we’ve got to do something’?

Congress faces a decision. They can try hiding what’s in the legislation and get defeated in their next election or they can make the system more transparent and improve the process. Whichever decision they make, they shouldn’t make the mistake that they won’t be held accountable. In this election cycle, there are three things that are guaranteed: death, taxes & being held accountable.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

ACORN has filed a lawsuit against James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart that nobody thinks they’ll follow through on. Last night on OTR, Greta opined about such a lawsuit. This morning, Greta posted her thoughts on the lawsuit:

ACORN just filed a lawsuit against the two with the undercover camera and filed against someone who has a website who posted/published the video. The decision to file suit is real dumb for them and it doesn’t matter if they are right about the two party consent law in Maryland.

Why are they so dumb?

By filing a lawsuit, ACORN just opened itself up for FULL DISCOVERY!! They are going to get hit with interrogatories, requests for production of documents, depositions etc. And who will get deposed? Just about everybody! And if discovery produces evidence of a crime? You can be sure that the evidence will be fed ex’d to the Justice Department!

Yes, ACORN will try and limit the scope of discovery to the issue of one party consent to taping…but discovery rules are really, really, really broad. I sure would hate to be rolling the dice on this one if I were ACORN and if I had something to hide!

I don’t know if Greta stayed at a Holiday Inn last night but I know that she’s a real life attorney. She knows what she’s talking about with regards to civil suit discovery. Last night, she kidded that she wishes that they’d include her in the lawsuit so that she could get ACORN’s communications and financial reports delivered to her office.

If ACORN goes through with this lawsuit, then they’ll lose. If that happens, then ACORN will have the right to sue the attorney who gave them this awful advice.

It’s important that we highlight how Greta would’ve advised ACORN had she been ACORN’s attorney:

By the way, what would have been my legal advice to ACORN if they were my client? I would have told them to lie low and just hope the heat passes and not to file suit….but they have done the opposite. They have just given 3 parties the right to ask them a billion questions (UNDER OATH) and demand billions of documents etc! And how about risk of video taped depositions of ACORN officials? The more I think about this, the more I wonder whose good idea this was!
Yes, idiots.

ACORN has been super-secretive about their documents. That’s understandable since their communications likely would reveal their interactions with SEIU, with other left wing fringe groups and who’s contributing to them. It would also identify which government agencies they’ve gotten money from, which would be helpful in eliminating their federal and state funding.
Unless I miss my guess, Mr. Breitbart is likely smiling the smile of a lifetime and saying something like “I’ve died and gone to heaven.” It isn’t unreasonable to think that he’s already made a call to hire a team of attorneys.

Keep checking back for more updates. right now, though, every conservative and good government liberal should be smiling. Their dreams of eliminating a huge chunk of corruption is suddenly alot more possible, thanks in large part to ACORN’s apparent legal stupidity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

On Sept. 9, Coborn’s Inc. issued a memo that talked about two pieces of federal legislation that they think might hurt their profitability, which would necessarily affect the job security of their employees. Here’s the most alarming section of the memo:

Health Care Bill (HR 3200)

We need to control costs without destroying access to high quality health care. The current federal health care legislation promotes a huge shift from private sector coverage to government-run health care coverage…We estimate that it would erase more than a third of our profits! As an employee-based company, this would hit all of us hard. It would curtail our growth and result in layoffs.

MPR got its hands on the memo and wrote about it in this article. Here’s what MPR had to say about the memo:

The president of Coborn’s, a St. Cloud-based grocery chain, is urging his employees to oppose health care reform legislation.

In an internal memo (pdf), Coborn’s president and CEO Chris Coborn asks employees to e-mail or write letters to legislators opposing two pieces of legislation. He said the proposed health care reform bill and a union organizing measure are serious threats to the future of the company.

Coborn’s spokesman Steve Gottwalt said the company frequently shares information with its employees about factors affecting its business.

“In this case, we wanted to share some basic information about what legislation is coming forward in Washington, and how employees and others might be able to impact that legislation by letting their concerns and thoughts be heard. That’s pretty much it,” said Gottwalt, who is also a Republican state representative.

Coborn has given money to candidates from both parties, but he leans Republican by a ratio of more than 5-to-1 in his contributions.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify that Steve Gottwalt was speaking on behalf of the company, and not in his capacity as a state legislator.

First off, I find it alarming that MPR would include Chris Coborn’s campaign contribution history in the story. The article’s focus should’ve been on the merits of the pending legislation, not Chris Coborn’s campaign contributions.

In fact, I don’t see why this is a story at all. What’s a big deal about a company telling its employees about legislation that might affect them personally? I’d argue that Coborn’s did the right thing in alerting its employees to this legislation. After all, it’s legislation that might affect the employees’ employment status and their access to high quality health care benefits.

Steve’s point that “employees and others might be able to impact that legislation by letting their concerns and thoughts be heard” is especially laudable. Steve knows the importance of constituent/representative communications by because he’s a state legislator.

Having lived in St. Cloud all my life, I know that Coborn’s isn’t an ideology-driven company. Simply put, they’re seen as a comapny that offers stable employment to young people. They simply want to keep growing their company while looking out for their employees’ best interests.

Instead of conveying that, MPR chose to view this memo through a partisan lens. Shame on them for not doing their due diligence.

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If this article is right, then Speaker Pelosi’s face is the new botoxed face of betrayal. Here’s what the Hill is reporting:

Speaker Pelosi is backing away from a deal she cut with centrists to advance health reform, said a source familiar with talks.

Pelosi’s decision to move away from the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote.

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates. “The speaker is full-steam-ahead,” said a senior Democratic aide.

If Speaker Pelosi hijacks this bill after Mike Ross negotiated a deal with Henry Waxman, she’ll destroy her credibility with Blue Dogs. If she loses them, then she’ll lose their support for major parts of the Democrats’ agenda, meaning that she’ll possibly suffer a number of humiliating defeats.

This isn’t just about Pelosi backing out of the deal either:

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers.

That move, which drew howls of protest from liberal members, prevented the bill from getting stuck in committee. But Ross returned from the August break saying he couldn’t support a public option under any circumstances, essentially withdrawing his support for the deal.

Anyone who negotiates an agreement on legislation, then backs out of that agreement, deserves whatever he gets. Anyone who backs out of a deal that they’ve negotiated shouldn’t complain that their credibility disappeared.

These conflicts and hard feelings are only part of the reason why I discount Harry Reid’s blustering about using the nuclear option:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened on Tuesday to use a procedural maneuver to steamroll opponents of health care reform, even as a Senate panel began delicate negotiations over a package that could have the best chance at passing.

The Nevada Democrat, who has issued similar threats before, spoke as the Senate Finance Committee began debate over Chairman Max Baucus’ reform plan. Reid threatened to use a budgetary tool called reconciliation, also known as the “nuclear option”, that would allow Democrats to pass key parts of the legislation with a simple majority, as opposed to the 60 votes needed to avoid a Republican filibuster.

“If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do the reconciliation,” Reid said, adding that he views that as a “last resort.”

“It remains to be seen as to whether we will have to do reconciliation. I am confident and hopeful we won’t have to do that, but time will only tell,” Reid said.

Sen. Reid must think that the American people take him seriously. Just because he holds the post that LBJ once held doesn’t mean that people think of him in that same light. NOTE TO SEN. REID: We pay attention to what’s happening. We know that it isn’t likely that the Finance Committee bill will make it out of committee before the end of next week.

If Reid tries employing the nuclear option, then he’s in for an even bigger headache. Sen. Judd Gregg is working on a list of points of order to ask whether parts of the Finance Committee bill have to be seperated into a policy bill and a appropriations bill. Experts told Newt Gingrich that the points of order, followed by the floor vote, could take another week.

Assuming that the House passes a bill, then the bills need to go to conference committee to iron out the differences between the House bill and the Senate’s bills. Considering the fact that Pelosi is likely to appoint hard left representatives as conferees, I’m expecting the conference committee to be contentious, possibly even testy.

If those aren’t enough hurdles, then there’s this: Senate rules dictate that the nuclear option can’t be used after October 15. That’s why most pundits are saying that President Obama won’t get a health care bill to his desk before Thanksgiving.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative