Why are so many blogs focusing on the question of whether you can pass a bill through budget reconciliation?  Is it aimed at the Senate parliamentarian, who has presumably spent a great deal more time mastering Senate rules than any of the bloggers now trying to do his job?  I deduce, from the rather strained arguments, that people think he is fairly unlikely to go along.

But it's not as if that has to stop the Democrats--they can just keep firing parliamentarians until they get a ruling they like.  That is, as I understand it, how Frumin got his job from Trent Lott.  The hard constraint is not Senate procedure; it's the political cost of tweaking it to Democratic Senators from swing states.  There are quite a lot of those.

It seems like progressives are conceding the ground war and wondering if they can't just get away with a fabulous new paint job on their bombers.  But I don't see how you can do this without winning the actual battle:  persuading Americans that they want this bill.  Which right now, they don't seem to.  Yes, I understand that if you word the question just right, you can get a majority of americans to proclaim their support for some provisions of the bills on the table.  Unfortunately, this is true of virtually every bill.  When voters are telling pollsters that they trust insurers more than the government, and Republicans are pulling ahead in the generic ballot, you have a hell of a lot of ground to make up.

What am I missing?

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