The latest rhetorical battle over health care is focused on the reconciliation option. This is a parliamentary procedure that, crudely put, would allow a simple majority in the senate to pass (in this case) health care.
Since the Republicans are currently against health care, they (and the folks at Fox) are now against reconciliation. Not surprisingly, the Republicans had no qualms about using the same tactic themselves and, when that was done, the Democrats were generally against it.
Of course, the fact that the Republicans were for it then and against it now does not prove that the Republicans are not correct in their current arguments against it. However, the arguments they gave in favor of it can be trotted out again and used against their current opposition to the method.
Two main arguments for reconciliation are as follows. First, it is an established procedure and follows the current rules of the senate. This does not mean that it is correct, merely that the Democrats are not doing anything out of order if they use it. As such, the notions that the Democrats are “ramming” things down America’s throat or exercising some sort of crazy nuclear option do not hold much water.
Second, democracy is based on the notion of majority rule. By the numbers, 51 is a majority in population of 100. True, it is the smallest possibility majority, but that does not change the fact that it is a majority. To use a sports metaphor, winning by 1 point is still a win. It can, of course, be argued that a majority is not enough and that a certain greater percentage must be used. If so, this should be applied consistently across the board and regardless of who is in power. Of course, this view would entail that George Bush was “rammed down the throat of America” when he was elected the first time.
In fact, the senate actually works based on majority rule. The 60% that gets tossed around in the news is not what is required to pass a law. Rather, the 60% is what is needed to create a filibuster proof majority.
As such, the Republican attacks on reconciliation are somewhat disingenuous. there are, of course, reasonable arguments against reconciliation, but these are rarely presented.