Judd Gregg has no idea what he’s talking about

JUDD GREGG HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT…. Five years ago this month, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) was so desperate to let oil companies drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he tried to use the budget reconciliation process to do it. “If you have 51 votes for your position, you win,” he said at the time, adding, “Is there something wrong with majority rules? I don’t think so.”

Today, Gregg was disgusted by the notion of using reconciliation to pass health reform.

“Reconciliation has never been used for a massive rewrite of policy like this,” he said. “Adjusting tax rates is not like rewriting the entire healthcare system of the United States. It’s substantive. It’s very different.”

Look, Gregg isn’t some rookie. He’s not a right-wing radio host or some random conservative blogger. Gregg is almost certainly is aware of his surroundings, understands the reconciliation rules, and realizes how the process is likely to unfold.

With that in mind, it’s almost impossible to believe that Gregg’s obvious misstatements of fact are the result of ignorance. He must know what he’s saying is false. That Gregg can repeat such lies with a straight face, as if they were legitimate, raises serious concerns about his integrity.

It’s tempting to note that reconciliation has already been used, by Republicans, on all kinds of sweeping, “substantive” issues — welfare reform, for example — but even that’s beside the point. Reconciliation isn’t being used for “a massive rewrite of policy”; it’s being used for a budget fix. The “a massive rewrite of policy” has already passed. It passed through regular order, with no reconciliation. Gregg must realize this; he was there when it happened.

My first thought, reading Gregg’s quotes, was that we won’t have to endure the talking point for too much longer — if the House passes the Senate bill, and the Senate approves a budget fix through majority rule, the notion that the huge health care reform package was passed through reconciliation will disappear.

Except, my first thought was almost certainly wrong. Even if Dems don’t pass reform through reconciliation, Republicans will likely say they did. Why not? Fox News will dutifully play along — “Sure, health care reform became law, but only because Dems cheated” — and mainstream outlets will present it as a he-said/she-said dilemma.

There’s no incentive for Republicans to tell the truth, just as there’s no consequences for them failing to tell the truth. So, they’ll just keep making stuff up, as Judd Gregg exemplifies.