(Title intended to ironically tweak wingnuts. Fun!)
So, while digesting my lunch I’ve had some time to digest last night’s historic vote. I’ve come to the conclusion that, like Eric, I think this was a GOP Waterloo. In fact, while some credit goes to people like Pelosi (and Obama for risking political capital by letting the process play itself out in Congress), a large amount of credit for the passage of this bill goes to Republicans; specifically to the “Party of No” strategy.
There were many points in this process where Democrats would have certainly agreed to a much less ambitious bill, if they thought it more likely to pass. However, the GOP had laid all of their cards on the table – there would be no negotiating with grandma-killers on the left (they really painted themselves into a corner with their base on that one), and they would take no prisoners. So, as Matthew Yglesias put it – “no one surrendered”. It was quite clear that any bill would have been just as difficult to pass, even one substantially less ambitious than the less-than-perfect bill we got. So Democrats soldiered on.
The GOP quite literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
And so now, the talk is about repeal. Well, if the GOP wins every single Senate seat up this year, they would still be 8 votes shy of enough to override a veto. And while I’m fairly certain “repeal health care” will be a political loser this fall, it definitely will be a political loser in 2012, when they next have an opportunity to elect the President they would need to repeal this. By then, my guess is that the program will be viewed as such a smashing success by The People that Obama’s re-election will be virtually guaranteed.
No, the health care horse is out of the barn. The high-pressure “Party of No” strategy very nearly worked, but in the end it was a catastrophic failure for the GOP. In reality, future conservatives will campaign on reforming the program, not repealing, just like the conservative parties do in every other country in the industrialized world with national health care programs. Because they work, and because they are popular. Campaigning on repealing is political seppuku, and it won’t be very long before that is also the case here.
And then we can work on fixing the parts of the program that are broken. It is my hope that moderate Dems see how progressive legislation leads to ballot box success and grow a pair.
The fact of the matter is that, despite it’s flaws, this bill has given a palpable sense of optimism to the liberal base. We will be energized this fall, determined to forge a stronger legislative base for additional reforms.
Thank you, GOP. I think your strategy proved to the Dems and their supporters that they, in fact, can demonstrate the capacity for bravery. ?Viva la Revolucion!
(Yes, I suppose I am mixing my metaphors. No, I don’t care. I’m in too good a mood.)