What Constitutes a Fight?

When someone says the word “fight,” most of us see images of Ali and Frazier, or perhaps scenes from the movie Rocky. Certainly the fighting of soldiers at Normandy or Iwo Jima come to mind, maybe even a simple fight among high school boys where someone walks away with a bloody nose – or if even talking only about rhetoric, something akin to Patton’s famous speech to his soldiers (the real or dramatized ones).

Senate Republicans are talking a lot these days about “fighting” the healthcare bill. These folks have an awfully loose definition of the word “fight.”

For example, a friend forwarded me an email from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign for Texas Governor, the title of which is “Kay Fights ObamaCare on The First Health Care Vote!” It is followed by a number of statements, including “[She] is fighting tooth and nail against government-run healthcare and actually voted last night to maintain the filibuster of Harry Reid’s bill,” and “Kay is steely in her resolve to do everything in her power to stop this horrible piece of legislation.”

Fight? Steely resolve? She honestly cannot be serious.

What has she done? Specifically?

Best I can tell, the Senior Senator from Texas has talked a lot, and then failed to join 33 Republican colleagues to vote against a politically motivated DoD Appropriations bill, and now is throwing those colleagues who filibustered it under the bus – claiming she is “for the troops.”

And what of her fellow Senate Republicans? More of the same – a lot of talk and forwarded emails…. all necessary, but not that effective without any teeth in the fight. And this total spinelessness represents everything wrong with Washington Republican leadership. They keep talking a lot about “fighting,” but it’s not enough to stamp your feet and whine about how bad the bill is.

Meanwhile, Senator DeMint has argued for procedural delays and stall tactics from the beginning – to use every tool at the disposal of Senate Republicans – something the “powers that be” ignored until recent days. Even more, last night (as noted by Erick), Senator DeMint brought up a procedural question about Senate rules changes in the bill that raises serious questions about the legitimacy of this exercise – raising the extent to which Democrats buried rules changes in this 2000 page bill that will make it very difficult to repeal the death panels this bill contemplates (see video).

These are the tools of an actual fight, and should be just the beginning of using everything they’ve got. Raise points of order, Constitutional questions, parliamentary inquiries – and consider raising ethical questions about the whore-like actions of Senators Nelson, Landrieu and others – clearly selling their votes for a price. Republicans should do whatever it takes. If nothing else, dragging this out gives more time for pressure to mount on House Democrats – both blue dogs and leftists.

As we noted yesterday, it is not over til it’s over.