Thanks to a coordinated effort to paint a strategy long used by both parties as secretive and unconstitutional, Democrats have bungled their preferred “deem and pass” strategy for health care reform with just one vote, leaving it with pretty much no political utility. When the swing votes you need the most criticize the tactic meant to shield them from taking a standalone vote on the Senate bill, I don’t understand the logic in still moving forward with it.

Of course Republicans agitating about this are being massive hypocrites. But as long as that doesn’t seem to matter to them, it certainly won’t matter to the traditional media. “Deem and pass” was designed as a way to avoid the standalone Senate vote and all that implied, that endangered incumbents voted for “special deals” for various states. Um, the NRCC has already cut the ads saying that, and I doubt they’ll retract them because of some procedural technicality that can allow members to claim they didn’t really vote for those deals.

It may be easier to consolidate two votes into one, but politically, Democrats lose by taking on a strategy designed to help their members. And the members don’t want it imposed upon them because a mightly Wurlitzer campaign has made it toxic. The leadership can’t even defend it.

Why they would use this strategy at this point is a mystery.

UPDATE: None of this is to say that David Waldman isn’t correct in his analysis. But that basically doesn’t matter. Politically speaking, there’s no real reason to do this anymore.