Having been up on the House side for the last two days, I can report that the fog of war has enveloped the Speaker and will attempt to explain why the Speaker is losing. CNN puts the Speaker down 11 votes, FireDogLake puts the Speaker down 25 — Yes at 190 — she needs 216.
This is a classic political battle: conflicting reports, disinformation and propaganda (two distinct things) moles, the light and dark roles of key operatives, overlaid with the impact of time — and those “inside the decision cycle” of their enemy.
The basic problem for the Speaker and her team is the enemy (to them, that’s us) is inside their decision cycle.
The greatest defense the Speaker has had against this happening before now has been her irrational behavior. But the predictability factor has skyrocketed because the Speaker and the White House — aka Axelrod and Valerie J. and the One — are fully committed to a knowingly destructive course of action: a vote to “pass the Senate bill without voting on it.”
This is what we know:
The Dem Leaders and White House will not acknowledge the political damage they are inflicting on their friends and colleagues. The White House and Speaker are destructively arrogant and irrational — the Joker — writ large.
They do not care, are not cognizant and really are blind to the poison they are spreading to Dems, while they insist their friends and colleagues eat it.
Second, they have created a habit of irrationality. A key part of this habit is rejecting information that shows the political damage they are doing to their friends and colleagues.
This habit of rejecting information that does not fit in their Groupthink world is well known in military history. Russia had a spy who repeatedly warned of German attack during World War II. Russia ignored, ridiculed and discredited this spy. The spy did not know his reports were ridiculed. Similarly, the Speaker and her team have ridiculed, discredited and ignored many Dems and pro-lifers when they wrote the bill.
Dem staffers report having repeated circular discussions with Leadership and Committee staff: we say the language of the bill says and means this, and the leadership staff and committee staff say, no it does not say and mean this, and we are not changing it.
Other key strategic advice rejected by the Speaker and the White House are Charlie Cook’s political and campaign analysis and Lawrence O’Donnell’s legislative strategy. Instead, they listen to the inexperienced and the dangerously Pollyanna Axelrod, Valerie J and the President. (And the Dems wonder how they got to this place.)
Part of this Groupthink pattern is that the delusionals listened to Chairman Waxman and Chairman Miller to craft their bill — and rejected writ large the suggestions of moderate Dems and completely locked out the GOP. The fact is, they have made a habit of not listening to their own members, the GOP and the public. When the Committee staff met with various factions of the Dem House, they did not take notes, they did not follow up, and universally rejected their suggestions.
Third, (and this next mistake is unforgivable in political warfare, and leads to huge, catastrophic disasters) the delusionals believe their own propaganda. Dem staff reports that the House leadership repeat the mantra that since the public has listed health care as the their number two concern in polls, ObamaCare must pass! The White House and the Leadership refuse to acknowledge that ObamaCare is hated, or is the source of their current political problems.
The leadership is wearing out their members with I-know-there-are-problems-but-we-must-pass-something-RIGHT-NOW-and-something-is-better-than-nothing.
But Members are now clued into the fact that passing nothing means that the public and the voters in my district will not be angry with me.
A visit to a Yes or Undecided office is so much more unpleasant than a visit to a No. The Yes or Undecided office is bombarded with phone calls, and while the No offices get calls and visits, they happily can tell the visitor or caller the Congressman is voting No.
Fourth, the House Leadership and the White House has no respect for their own political deadlines and they cannot stop their own march off the health care cliff. Just like they cannot change the bill in ways that can make it pass, they cannot simply punt and work on it in the background. They are greedy. They want it all. They want it now. And they are not telling their own Members the truth about the Senate, which makes them dangerous to the rank and file.
The Speaker said she will have a vote if she gets certain assurances from the Senate. They will never, ever get the assurances. They do not exist. But the Speaker will not stop her vote.
For example, Senator Bayh warned today in a speech in Washington that more Democrats than the House thinks are opposed to reconciliation. When Democratic Senators hint and intimate that the votes for the “fixes” in reconciliation do not exist in the Senate — the House Leaders do not, and will not listen to reality.
The House leadership has refused to be honest about the length of time any health care process will last in the Senate, or the political pain that it will cause in the House by another six weeks. Dem staff report they are being told there will 20 hours of debate in Senate. (The staff actually believe this.)
The Dem leadership will not acknowledge that the most likely outcome is that the reconciliation process will fail in the Senate.
The Dems themselves will pull the plug on the Senate reconciliation, especially after the public outcry if the Vice President overrules the Senate Parliamentarian and Senator Byrd, changing the rules mid-game.
No one can answer this question: why should the Senate change their own bill to fit what the House wants, when they had the opportunity to do so, and did not? And make changes they do not want under duress?
All while the One calls for “courage” for his fellow Dems to commit political suicide, and follow their fanatical leadership who are making career ending errors.