Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Sidecar Is Delicious

I haven't actually had one, though I know it's made from cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, which sounds good, and Matt Yglesias enjoyed them in his youth. And of course the metaphor is supposed to be for an actual vehicle that one rides beside a motorcycle, and not for a drink. But the cocktail is actually a pretty good metaphor for the thing the House wants the Senate to pass. Because it's tasty!

Possible sidecar ingredients include (1) eliminating Ben Nelson's hated Cornhusker Kickback or, better, giving it to everybody, (2) passing a very popular millionaire's tax to fund stuff, (3) eliminating the donut hole in prescription drug coverage, (4) a national exchange, and maybe even (5) the public option, which will do a lot to make the progressive base turn out for you while not making any voters especially unhappy.

Good on House Democrats, including Anthony Weiner, for moving towards getting on board with this strategy. The Senate is the side that really needs to step up now. We don't need Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, or Blanche Lincoln for this 50-vote strategy, so their grumbling is no problem. But assuming that the Senate can get over its post-Scott Brown hangover, anybody else ought to find this quite appealing. As always, anybody with a Democratic Senator can help! Your Senator's phone number is here.

Update: I agree that reconciling it in sometime in the future is more likely, but good on Pingree and Polis for their publicoptioneering.


corvus said...

Man, if we actually get a public option out of this, then the whole Scott Brown win will truly have been a blessing in disguise.

John B. said...

I'm not going to get my hopes up about a public option, though I would love to be surprised on that score. The other things you mention would be great. I hope the sidecar might carry a bit extra funding for higher subsidies since those were lower in the Senate bill than the House bill.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Yeah, I definitely don't recommend getting your hopes too high about it. But we seem to have the votes, and it would improve base turnout while having hardly any drawbacks. The kind of no-brainer that our people are too dumb to get.

Jonathan Bernstein said...

I don't think the votes are there for the public option, at this point. I agree with Neil about the rest of it; in fact, I think the patch will look so good that I think the House should just go ahead and pass the Senate bill even without a commitment from the Senate to take up the patch.

(I also still think the public option will eventually pass sometime in the next few years, using reconciliation,assuming Dems keep their majorities and the bill passes this year).