Slightly rambly as I’m running on a deficit of sleep.
* First, of course, it does seem that the Democratic ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory seems wholly undiminished. Depending on one’s personal politics, you could argue whether the newly-minted Senator-Elect Brown deserved to win the election, but given the campaign she ran, it appears Ms. Coakley squarely deserved to lose it, and did. Regardless of Brown’s virtues (or lack thereof) that would have been enough in itself. That’s some nice work there, Coakley. As for the Massachusetts Democrats, this is what you get for apparently assuming you’d win in a walk. Losing Edward Kennedy’s seat — and imperiling the last major legislative initiative he championed — is a fine job all around.
* That said, contrary to apparently popular opinion, health care isn’t quite dead yet. Now the real interesting thing is to see what the Democrats do next — whether they curl up in a legislative ball, moaning softly, and let their health care initiative die, or whether they double down, locate their gonads and find a way to get it done (there are several ways this can be accomplished).
From a purely strategic point of view, I’m not sure why they don’t just ram the thing through the House as is, fiddle with it a bit during reconciliation and get to Obama to sign it. To put it bluntly, the Democrats will look better by flipping the GOP the bird and then using the ten months until the 2010 election to get voters back on their side than showing to the voters that despite a large majority in both houses, they collapse like a flan in the cupboard at the first setback. We’ll see what happens now, and I suspect what happens in the next week or so will make a significant impact on what happens in November.
* If health care legislation ultimately collapses and the Obama Administration and its overall slate of initiatives take a severe hit, then, congratulations, progressives, you’ve just manufactured your “Nader 2000″ moment for this particular decade.
Yes, yes, I know, the GOP and conservatives have been completely losing their goddamn minds over Obama from the moment he was elected, but they were always going to do that, because the GOP today is comprised of hopped-up ignorant nihilists, and that’s all they know. You, on the other hand, are supposed to have brains, which are actually able to model consequences to your actions. And you should have been smarter about the political realities surrounding the Obama administration’s attempt to shepherd health care through Congress and into law.
Progressives were never going to get everything they wanted out of health care from Obama, and while I have no problem with them getting their hits in — indeed, glad they had their say — at the end of the day they should have more actively had Obama’s back in getting something through anyway because — once again — getting into law the idea that every American should have access to good and useful health care was the thing that had to happen now. Once that was through everything else would be up for negotiation in time. But that first step was the thing. The fact so many progressives spent so much time publicly and enthusiastically crapping all over the health care legislation made it easier for the people trying to bring it down to do so. Again: Well done, you.
And now the Obama health care legislation is on the verge of extinction, and if it goes, then it’s gone. And I’m sure that some of you progressives and liberals will be just fine with that, because you didn’t get everything you wanted out of it. Well, you enjoy that, then, over the next several political cycles at least. And hope you don’t actually need your health care coverage. But remember that you’re getting older. You know what that’s going to do to you.
No, it’s not all your fault. But if the health care legislation goes the way of the dodo, you’ll not be exactly blameless, either.
* Now I’m going to bed. Be polite to each other in the comments whilst I sleep. If I come back and have to do a bunch of malleting, I am going to be very cross.