One of the moderately interesting things I’ve noticed about the rhetoric of those who have badgers in their pants about Obama and/or the Democrats in Congress and/or the new health care laws is how everything that happened or has happened during the passage of the health care bills into law has invariably meant doom for the Democrats, like so:
“Obama and the Democrats are trying to pass health care! That’ll cost them in November! No, wait! Now Scott Brown has been elected and health care reform is dead! That’ll cost them in November! No, wait! Now health care reform has passed and is the law of the land! Excellent! That will cost them in November!”
Now, on one hand I do admire the commitment to a single message, and wonder how far those who use it would be willing to exercise it (“The November election results are in and the Democrats didn’t lose a single seat in the House! Fantastic! That’s going to cost them for sure!”). On the other hand, if your response to everything is “that’s going to cost them in November,” at some point you should be willing to entertain the notion that other people may think your single note response to every political event bespeaks a certain lack of complexity in your thinking process.
Do the Democrats face the possibly of losses in the mid-term elections? Certainly they do, as typically does any majority party in mid-term elections; it’s a common enough occurrence that it’s notable when it doesn’t happen (for example, in 2002, or, for you Democrats out there, 1934). That being the case, it doesn’t take special prognostication skills to suggest the Democrats will likely lose seats come November. The question is whether, in the case of passing health care reform into law, it would cost them more than if they had failed to pass it (or if they had done nothing about health care at all).
My own personal expectation (as noted before) is that it’s far better for the Dem’s political fortunes to have passed it than not; people may argue the benefit of the health care reform now that it’s passed, but the fact is no one likes a loser (see: mid-terms, 1994). I’m willing to entertain arguments that the Democrats were better off not passing the bill, unlikely though I think that is, but the apparent enthusiasm for the “everything they do is equally and apocalyptically bad for them” argument is not one I find particularly compelling, or one that suggests to me that the person fronting it has much more than a mantra going for them.
Likewise at this point I find people hauling out the latest convenient-to-their argument poll about the popularity of health care reform and from that making predictions of the GOP retaking the Hill to be equally silly; it’s the end of March and the elections are in the beginning of November, and between now and then are seven full months. I certainly understand the desire of some folks to declare the results of the elections now, especially when they’ve called it for their side. But inasmuch as the demise of health care reform was also called, and that just two months ago, not seven, I’m sure most of you will understand when I say I’m personally going to wait a bit to call the 2010 elections. Seems the prudent thing to do.