Then on Sunday I read this post by John Podhoretz and became hopelessly confused. Podhoretz is arguing that there are no good option for the Democrats when it comes to passing Obamacare and outlines the four bad options he sees. In the course of that outline he totally confused me with statements like:
The bill that has been voted out of the Senate committee for consideration of the full Senate... Republicans have enough votes to filibuster this bill. [snip]
The way to muscle this legislation into law is for the House to give up its bill, bring the Senate bill (after it’s passed with 51 votes) up for a vote, pass it, and have Obama sign it. [snip]
Even if the Senate does pass the bill through the 51-vote reconciliation process ...
I kept re-reading this and thinking that I must have missed something: Podhoretz seems unaware that the Senate has already passed a bill but surely that can’t be true. I finally decided that either Podhoretz was talking about some other Senate health care bill I was unaware of or there was some legal - not political - reason the House could not just pass the already-passed Senate bill.
Then (thanks to Neo-neocon) I read Keith Hennessey and my confusion subsided. My understanding of the strategy is correct. You can read his detailed and useful explanation of the process here. It is pretty much as I understood although I had not really thought about - and love - his description of the “Byrd bath” necessary to avoid the Republicans raising points of order in order to derail the passage of the follow-up bill via reconciliation.
Thank you, Mr. Hennessey, for reassuring me I had not wandered into some alternate reality. Now if I could just figure out what I missed in Podhoretz’ post, all would be well.