From Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asks Sen. Lamar Alexander about this statement he made to the Wall Street Journal:
"They either don't know how to operate in a bipartisan way or don't want to operate in a bipartisan way," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.). He warned that if Democrats use a parliamentary tactic called reconciliation to push through a bill by a majority vote in the Senate, "there'll be a minor revolution in this country."
Democratic leaders are leaving open the option of using reconciliation for parts of the bill. But with the political price for that tactic potentially high, they are hoping to avoid it.
As Media Matters reports Wallace and the Wall Street Journal are ignoring GOP's reconciliation double standard.
The Journal did not note that, during the Bush administration, Alexander voted to use the reconciliation process to pass tax cuts and voted against amendments that would have stripped reconciliation language from budget resolutions.
Howard Dean points this out during the segment but Chris Wallace changed the subject after he did rather than address it.
WALLACE: Senator Alexander, I want to ask you about something the president almost certainly won't talk about in his speech on Wednesday night, and that is the idea that they -- that Democrats may decide to just ignore the Republicans and push health care reform through the Senate through a parliamentary device associated with the budget called reconciliation, which means they won't need 60 votes to prevent a filibuster. They'll only need 51 votes.
You have said, and I quote, "That would wreck the Democratic Party and create a," quote, "'minor revolution in this country.'" Why?
ALEXANDER: Well, for two reasons. One, it would create a bad health care bill because under the provisions in the rules, the parliamentarian would write the bill, so all the senators would be voting on are tax increases or Medicare cuts, and you wouldn't get to put in the bill things like pre-existing conditions or buying insurance across party lines. So it would be a bad bill.
Second, it would be thumbing your nose at the American people who have been trying to say to Washington for the last several months, "Slow down. I mean, too many Washington takeovers, too much debt. You're meddling with my health care." Let's go step by step and do some things to reduce costs.
So thumbing their nose at the American people by ramming through a partisan bill would be the same thing as going to war without asking Congress' permission. You might technically be able to do it, but you'd pay a terrible price in the next election.
DEAN: See, actually, Chris, I disagree with that. I think this has been used 23 times before, including by George Bush's really controversial tax cuts when he first got in. And I don't think the American people care about the process. I think they care about the result.