Monday, March 15, 2010


I recommend Pete Davis's tribute to Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.  I should note, however, that the fact that political junkies know her name today, over fifteen years after her critical vote, is yet another sign that Tom Foley wasn't a very good Speaker of the House. 

I suppose that Nancy Pelosi and the House whip operation are probably somewhat busy this week, but I do hope that they make time, or assign someone, to orchestrate the actual voting on the House floor for health care reform.  You know, so that some poor vulnerable first-term Member doesn't have to be identified as "the" vote that put health care over the top.  Now, I should back up a bit...first of all, I do not expect health care reform to be politically toxic in November; unlike the Clinton budget, which was pretty much all pain, health care reform has plenty of specific benefits for Members to tout, as the White House has been emphasizing recently.  And I do remember reading somewhere (sorry, no citation) that the Speaker has been trying to win by at least two votes, to avoid the problem of a single Member putting controversial legislation "over the top." 

Which is all very well and good and all, and perhaps the Speaker will get this done with plenty of votes to spare after all, but it not...I assume that the logical person to cast the vote that gets them to 216 would be John Dingell.  Or Nancy Pelosi, herself.  Or Henry Waxman.  Or perhaps Patrick Kennedy, clutching some talisman that belonged to his father.  Or a parade of them.  And before that, make sure that the last supposedly undecided Member to cast a vote for the bill is either in a safe seat or retiring. 

(Yes, of course, it's very easy to overstate the importance of this sort of thing; for all I know; MMM was doomed regardless of her vote on the budget, let alone how it was portrayed.  Still, might as well get the details right, no?).


  1. If I were orchestrating the vote, Dingell would cast the first yes vote, Patrick Kennedy the 216th (and if there are more than 216 votes, the last vote should be a safe-seat freshman ready to introduce improvements to the new system over time). But then I'm a bit of a sucker for symbolism.

  2. Foley was arguably trying to play the game that Mr. Sam played. However, you're absolutely right that he wasn't as good at it.
    The 7 different vehicles for health care is one piece of evidence there, but Mr. Sam also knew his chamber well enough to be able to tell early on in the voting whether he would need those sit-asides or not.


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