The Wall Street Journal's particularly caustic editorial on the self-executing maneuver that might allow Democrats to pass health care reconciliation legislation without having to first vote on that putrid Senate bill is full of absolutes and adjective constructions: it is an "amazing procedural ruse" -- a "concoction" that violates Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution, which states that for a bill to become law, it "shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, because of the Stupak 12 and the compromises in the Senate bill, can't get enough Democrats to put their names down on the slate as voting yes on it as a stand-alone measure. The reconciliation fix is much more popular. Hence -- self-executing -- a parliamentary maneuver that essentially "presumes" the Senate bill into law by passing the post-facto fixes only.
Plain enough, right? Even Democrats are buying into the notion, fretting about the optics of allegedly not voting. Not really. In fact, the Journal gets it wrong. So do Democrats. So has the political class. Democrats will still be on the hook for health care. Here's why:
Yesterday, conservative jurist Michael McConnell argued that that Democrats are trying to finish the health care bill without voting on it. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader in the Senate, intoned that Democrats claim they never voted for it even though they'll vote to send it to the president for a signature.
But that's wrong. House Democrats aren't doing that.