I agree with Ezra Klein that the House Democrats are foolish to enact health care reform through this "deem and pass" method. And I agree with Ezra, again, that Republicans are being ridiculously hypocritical to attack it as unfair. But that's not why I recommend you read his post. It is, rather, his analysis of why the Republicans are focusing on these attacks:
this need for a nuclear response is a sign of their weakness in the face of the reality of this bill. They're much more comfortable talking about process, or marginal deals, then about the legislation itself. The bill covers more than 30 million people. If you trust the scorekeeper that Republicans trust whenever they're in power, it cuts the deficit by almost a trillion dollars over the next two decades. It will protect millions who would've been denied insurance because they needed medical care, or would've found their benefits yanked when their sickness was discovered.
Indeed, ever since the health-care summit, which was the most substantive discussion we've had thus far, health-care reform is recovering its popularity. Republicans know that perfectly well, and so they're exploiting a dumb Democratic maneuver to change the topic. They can't win on the substance of health-care reform, but maybe they can win by making Washington look like a noxious, awful place that you can't possibly trust. Of course, soon enough, they'll be in charge of this noxious, awful place, and the public will be that much more cynical about Washington, and Republicans will find successful governance that much harder.
That's not to say Republicans don't still make attacks based on policy or that conservatives can have honest (if, in my view, incorrect) criticisms of reform. But it seems pretty clear to me they'd rather talk about process than substance. What remains to be seen is whether they'll succeed in defining the conversation over the next few days.
Update: My colleague Jonathan Chait was thinking along the same lines today:
The striking thing about this debate is the degree to which Republicans have devoted the bulk of their energies to putting forth disingenuous arguments. The have deep-seated reasons to oppose health care reform, but they spend an enormous amount of time on arguments that they would never were the situation reversed. I don't doubt that there's some political benefit to this -- the GOP base already opposes health care reform on the merits, so the way to keep them whipped into a state of outrage is to produce a stream of new process arguments about how the Democrats are doing violence to the beloved system of the Founding Fathers. Swing voters, meanwhile, do favor both the general proposition of health care reform and most of the provisions of the plan, but have recoiled at the process. So there's a logic behind the constant stream of process complaints from the right. It's just created a stupid debate.
Agreeing with Jon and Ezra--shocking, I know. I'll try to be more predictable in the future.