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Paul Lehto

and, I heard on CNN, funding for mental illness the same as physical illness in some fashion was added to the bill. Late night comics should have a field day with that one. But it may be tough to get Americans to laugh too much.

This is an interesting analysis, but "Defining" the issue space with a mere "argument", as you probably know, is building the house on stilts. But, I think it still yields some interesting stuff.

I think for folks on the wings, it wasn't just the distance from the ideal, but also the existence of poison pills. one of these is Sec. 119, which only allows constitutional claims as lawsuits, but then even if you win on a constitutional claim, it's immediately subject to "automatic stay" by will of Congress, if the Secretary appeals and asks for a continuance of the stay. Given the pre-existing preference for the status quo in stay analysis and litigation generally, plus the force of congressional intent, the risk's very high that even proven constitutional violations would wait a long time to be resolved, since nothing in the bill expedites appeals (it does expedite trial court matters).

Therefore, somebody really seriously believing in the Constitutional rights of all, and these exist on both the Left and Right, could find this a violation of their oath to uphold the Constitution and vote against for that poison pill reason alone. This would be difficult to explain to the public, but may be a major troubling factor in the conscience of a legislator.

Question: All models simplify, but just like elections are concatenations of millions of forces with disparate reasons, so are congressional votes with an engaged public. Can you say for sure that your datamaps are meaningful, even though we know for sure that they oversimplify by defining the issue space thus?

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