David Harsanyi

Let's concede that Democrats are correct in calling out duplicitous and hypocritical GOPers. Does dredging up instances of Republican chicanery now validate the use of your own scams to pass "the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act" (the president's own characterization)?

Even on those terms, Democrats have yet to make a solid case. After all, not all legislation is created equal. No Republican "deem-and-pass" case comes remotely close to being used for "the most important bill most of us will ever pass" (per House Speaker Nancy Pelosi).

On Thursday, Democrats voted down a bipartisan attempt to force Congress to take an old-fashioned up-or-down vote on the Senate health care bill, as it would on nearly any other significant piece of legislation.

Perhaps the House still will elect to vote on the Senate bill as is without any gimmicks. If not, the constitutionality of "deem and pass" in this configuration almost certainly will be challenged.

However the challenge pans out, we shouldn't forget that the process matters. Sometimes process is vital in protecting the American people from the abuses of majoritarians and crusading tyrants. Other times, it is used by those very people to circumvent pesky constitutional restrictions.

And in this case, the process is only a reflection of the ugly legislation that makes it possible.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.