Imagine you are a cabin boy on a pirate ship. The captain of the ship tells the crew there’s treasure at the bottom of shark infested waters. Everybody wants the treasure, but nobody wants to swim through the sharks to get it. The problem: the captain wants that treasure and will make somebody go get it. There’s nobody better and more expendable for the job than the cabin boy. The life of the cabin boy is ready precarious under the constant threat of imminent death at the hands of an unruly crew who now cajole the cabin boy into getting the treasure with promises of sharing the riches. To decline means being more savagely treated with the fair prospect of death regardless. Salvation, the captain says, lay at the bottom of the ocean beneath the man eaters. Bring the treasure aboard and life will be much better and safer. The choices are poor, so the cabin boy decides to risk being eaten alive in attempt to make a better life rather than take no risk and live the remaining days in fear of imminent death.
That is the situation in which so many vulnerable House Democrats find themselves today as the vote for healthcare reform looms. Democratic House Members from safe districts are urging their vulnerable colleagues to seize the treasure for them. To help cajole these vulnerable Members they’ve rolled out a doomed cabin boy, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky, who suffered death at the polls after casting the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s 1993 budget. To hear The Hon. Margolies Mezvinsky tell it, she was glad to have sacrificed herself to retrieve the treasure for her captain.
Most shocking is that the House will adopt the Senate version of the healthcare bill without a single rescission. Not one! That is a total abdication of the House’s legislative responsibility. But the treasure calls and the House leadership is so intent on winning they will do it at any cost, including sacrificing their own and perhaps their majority. House Democrats take solace in reports by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that say the healthcare bill reduces the budget without mentioning the fact that reductions come on the back of higher taxes. House Democrats are welcome to applaud their deficit reduction efforts, but they will pay the price for doing it by taxing more, not spending less.
Meanwhile, the sharks wait patiently, knowing how many Democratic cabin boys they will need to devour to earn the right to rule the seas; a reward richly deserved for showing the cohesion and patience necessary to have a furious and fulfilling feeding frenzy at the polls.