Friday, February 12, 2010

We shouldn't grade Harry Reid on a curve

My effort to fight back against the notion that Harry Reid's efforts at health care reform have been a success is posted at TFT now.

This analysis requires one to look not at the totality of the legislative process but instead at a binary benchmark. If a bill passes the House then Nancy Pelosi has, by definition, done her job. If a bill passes the Senate then Harry Reid, by definition, has done his job. If both of these things occur then Rahm Emmanuel has, by definition, done his job.

The problem of course is that today there is no health care reform proposal sitting on the President’s desk. If everyone did their jobs well then that obviously would not be the case and yet here we have Ezra looking at the imminent collapse of the center-piece of Obama’s agenda and declaring “Mission Accomplished.” That’s ridiculous, we need to hold our leaders accountable to real world outcomes and in the real world we don’t have a health care reform bill ready t0 sign into law.

Harry Reid bears the bulk of the responsibility for this failure in my opinion. Pelosi got a fairly liberal piece of legislation through her chamber in relatively short order. I understand the structural challenges that Reid faces in the Senate do not make for an apples to apples comparisons and I won’t for a second argue, for example, that Harry Reid could have passed a public option through the Senate.

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