Monday, November 23, 2009

Dean: Dems 'In Deep Trouble' On Health Care, The Only Options Are A Bad Bill Or 2010 Losses

That's from the HuffPo hand-wringing piece regarding the mess Democrats have put themselves in with Obamacare. By demanding legislation Americans don't want and can't afford, they are suddenly becoming aware of the dire consequences (for themselves) regardless of which way they go.

"I think if you passed the Senate bill tomorrow it would be OK. But then the problem is they don't have any defense for their members in 2010," Dean said, noting that the public option would not become operational until 2014. "On the other hand, if they drop the public option [to placate moderate members], I think they lose seats."

"So this is really tough. I didn't anticipate being in this position. I thought it would pass. Maybe Harry has some magic up his sleeve. But I don't see how he gets those four votes [Sens. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.)] without compromising the bill," Dean concluded.

What Dean and most liberal bloggers I've read seem to miss is that the bill they want will lose them seats anyway, since many of the Dems Dean is counting on are in Republican or Republican-leaning districts. Losing seats is OK with Nancy Pelosi, who considers the bluedogs who gave her her majority leader status to be vermin better off gone. But in the Senate, Reid can ill afford to piss off any of his coalition.

Steve Benen likens it to a hostage negotiation.
(I)magine there's a big meeting with every member of the Democratic caucus in both chambers. You stand at the front of the room and make a presentation: "If health care reform falls apart after having come this far, tens of millions of Americans will suffer; costs will continue to soar; the public will perceive Democrats as too weak and incompetent to act on their own agenda; the party will lose a lot of seats in the midterms and possible forfeit its majority; and President Obama will have suffered a devastating defeat that will severely limit his presidency going forward. No one will even try to fix the dysfunctional system again for decades, and the existing problems will only get worse."

For progressive Democrats, the response would be, "That's an unacceptable outcome, which we have to avoid."

For conservative Democrats, the response would be, "We can live with failure."

This necessarily affects negotiations. One contingent wants to avoid failure; the other contingent considers failure a satisfactory outcome. Both sides know what the other side is thinking.

The truth, of course, is something less hyperbolic. For one thing, millions of Americans will suffer if Obamacare passes, since none of the bills do anything to deal with spiralling health care costs. Nor will it give more people more choices or affordable choices where there are choices. And there's the devil in the details of both the House and Senate bills: the crushing taxes on everybody in America, from business owners to employees. And there's that pesky threat of jail time if you refuse to get insurance.

Moreover, Americans are already seeing Democrats as dysfunctional and unable to govern. It's not merely the ram-through of Obamacare, watching Pelosi and Reid bully, threaten and cajol Democrats to force them to vote for this monstrosity. It's everything the Democrats have done generally for the last 3 years, and specifically for the last year. What, exactly, have Democrats done that has improved the lives of Americans? We have double digit unemployment and an economy showing no signs of lowering that figure any time soon. We have a budget-busting stimulus package that didn't stimulate and a president too busy kowtowing to emperors and taking his wife on a taxpayer-paid date night to spend his time governing the country.

Worse still, Americans are becoming quite aware of the various accounting tricks Democrats have been and continue using to make their spending sprees look better. The stimulus plan was supposedly backloaded, so that most of the money would be spent in 2010...just before the midterm elections. And both the House and Senate health care bills don't even offer any benefits for several years, stockpiling taxpayer money to pay for it, then counting the "savings" from before benefits kick in. The lies are so blatant at this point that most people simply can't stomach it anymore.

The Left would just as soon punish bluedogs who don't sign on to their health care takeover. But the American people will punish them if they do sign on. It seems to me that Democrats have forgotten what representative democracy looks like. They think they get to ram through whatever crackpot ideas they want us to accept.