Friday, March 12, 2010


Even though its authors, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, are, respectively, the quintessential Democrat-bashing "Fox News Democrat" and a Mike Bloomberg shill and fellow Fox News Dem who's also buddies with self-hating Democrat Harold Ford, I thought I might agree with bits of this Washington Post op-ed, which says that Democrats will pass a health care bill at their political peril. But mostly what I've been feeling about the health care bill is that struggling endlessly to pass it is what's really hurting the Democrats, especially because they don't seem able to do anything else, or even mount anything resembling a full-court press to do anything else. (I don't think Republicans and conserva-Dems will actually let anything get done, but an attempt to do something else might at least be regarded favorably by voters.)

I think part of Matt Yglesias's response is right on the money:

If reform passes, Democrats will almost certainly lose a whole bunch of seats in November. But if reform fails, Democrats will also almost certainly lose a whole bunch of seats in November. At the margin, passing reform helps the party's prospects in the midterms in my view, but the midterms outlook is just bad and there's nothing to be done health care-wise at this point to change that.

I just don't know what would happen if HCR passed, because, as I've said, the right is going to unleash holy hell if it happens -- constitutional challenges, probably mass demonstrations, resistance at the statewide level in some states, and probably calls for impeachment. Is all that going to make voters feel that the bill is awful -- or is the right going to overplay its hand?

I think there's a good chance of the latter -- and yet I don't think the GOP is really going to destroy itself if it overplays its hand, because the Village won't allow that to happen. (Remember, Newt Gingrich's hissyfits allowed Bill Clinton to regain stature by '96, but Republicans stayed in control of Congress; the impeachment of Clinton made the GOP less popular, but Republican congressional majorities endured and Bush made it to the White House in 2000.) A crazy GOP will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years, so I'm not sure I agree with this part of what Matt writes:

If reform passes and is signed into law, then immediately Barack Obama's position in history is secured. When people look back from 2060 on the creation of the American welfare state, they’ll say that FDR, LBJ, and BHO were its main architects, with Roosevelt enshrining the principle of universal social insurance into law and Obama completing the initial promise of the New Deal. Members of congress who helped him do that will have a place in history.

I don't know. I still think Republicans will seize control of Congress in 2010, propose both full and partial repeal of HCR, probably pass partial repeal (which Obama will veto), and then run on repeal in the presidential year 2012. In other words, I don't know if HCR, or much of it, will survive the Pawlenty administration. But things could get so crazy before then that anything could happen -- except what most people think will happen, which is that we'll all just the change the subject after a bill is finally signed into law.

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