My congressional lobbying

I haven’t really gotten involved in haranguing my elected representatives before, but the possibility of health care reform is so tantalizingly close — and the apparent drift of the Democratic so-called “leadership” is so grindingly predictable and frustrating — that I’ve felt compelled to contact my representative several times.  Below the fold is the email I’ve sent.

UPDATE: I claim no particular credit, but according to Talking Points Memo, Rep. Holt has in fact come out in support of (what I feel to be) the correct option, passing the Senate bill.  (I am indifferent as to whether it needs to be done straight up or with amendments via reconciliation.)

To my representative, Rush Holt:

I am writing you to encourage your support in having the House pass the Senate health care reform as is, obviating the need for a new journey through the Senate.  Scott Brown has made clear that he will fillibuster any health care legislation at all.  The choices are the Senate bill or nothing — any other talk is pure fantasy.  Since the current state of health care in the US is unworthy of a great nation — it is in fact intolerable — we must take the opportunity (limited as it may be) offered by the Senate’s passage of a bill.

This is the right thing to do.  Moreover, it is the smart thing do, electorally.  (See for my reasoning on that — or really, read any politically-coherent liberal blog.)

We elected a Democratic majority so that it would -lead- … not so that it would cower in the corner like a dog who’s been beat too much.  It’s time for the party to step up, and the path is clear.

With respect,
-=-Bernard HP Gilroy

To Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

Dear Speaker:
The House -must- pass the Senate bill.  The loss of the seat in Massachusetts was disappointing.  The utter abject collapse of the Democratic leadership has been appalling.  It is a delusional fantasy to entertain hopes that the process can be begun again.  Considering the success that the Republicans have had obstructing this bill when they did not have a “superminority”, it is insane to believe they will allow any new bill to move forward.
Health care reform -has- been passed.  The US House can finalize it by adopting the Senate bill.  Admittedly that bill is not all that could be hoped, but it is a damn sight better than nothing — and nothing is the only realistic other alternative.
If the Democrats curl up into a little ball, as they have been distressingly willing to do in the past, then you can kiss the Democratic majority good-bye in November and you can reconcile yourself to finishing out your career in the political wilderness.  Democratic voters elected the party to huge majorities to -get things done-, not to cower in the corner like a dog that’s been kicked.  Betray us now on the signature issue of our times, and you will get whiplash from how fast we abandon you.
Don’t run from the coming fight.  Embrace it.  We Democrats are right — we’re right on the politics, we’re right on the philosophy, we are right on the merits.  Stop being afraid of your own shadow.  Get your caucus into a room, lock the doors, and make them understand:  Failing to pass the Senate bill would be an act of political suicide.  Your voters will abandon you, and with good reason.
Whether or not this bill passes, the Republicans will be using it to attack every Democrat who — already! — has voted for health care reform. Those votes don’t go away and the Republican attack machine is not going to respect the nuances people are trying to spin.  Defending the passage of this bill will be a hard road, but it is infinitely easier than defending the -failure- to pass a bill.
Passing the Senate bill is the right thing for the body politic.  It also offers the only hope of surviving the midterm elections.
With respect,
-=-Bernard HP Gilroy


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