Austin Frakt answers my question:
I think the effort here is to continue the meme that Democrats are “ramming this down the throat of the American people.” Reconciliation is so easy to spin as “outside the normal process” that the uninformed might buy the argument that Democrats are not playing fair.
Ezra Klein had it right last night when he said (in a tweet and on MSNBC) that Republicans are using process-based arguments to confuse people into fear. Meanwhile Democrats are talking substance and policy, about what they want to fix and improve.
Well, that’s certainly an explanation that fits. I think they are over-reaching here, though. It will be too easy to spin their defiance as “protecting special deals” and “raising taxes” this time. Won’t it? Or will the Democrats not go there?
And since we’re on the subject of Austin, I want to second what he says here:
I know from my own experience working on much simpler policy-relevant analysis that such work is incredibly hard. To achieve even one arguably credible result that can withstand the scrutiny of public disclosure takes hundreds, if not thousands, of person-hours. Many people put their heart and soul, and no doubt many all-nighters, into getting health reform right and analyzing it properly, within the constraints of the political necessities dictated by their ultimate masters, our elected representatives.
Nancy Pelosi deserves Person of the Year status for her efforts and her mark on history. But it is the largely invisible and un-thanked analysts I want to recognize. They receive too little credit relative to the amount of work they do. Though convention and institutional objectivity prevent most of them from taking a deserved bow I applaud them anyway. If you contributed to health care policy analysis that shaped health reform and its debate, thank you. Excellent job. Stand proud. And then go get some rest.
He’s right. In the coming weeks as all praise focuses on the people at the top, we should also acknowledge the many people behind the scenes whose work makes all policy possible. Thank you!