The Democrats, Health Care, and the 2010 Elections

There are a lot of different memes on what’s happening with the ObamaCare debate. For one thing, the legislation’s not passed yet. And while I’m not sure if we’ll stop it, protesters are gearing up. See Nice Deb, “EMERGENCY HEALTH CARE RALLY, Omaha, NE, Sunday 12/20.” Plus, watch the opposition on the House side. See, “Stupak Ready to Pounce, Vows to Kill ‘Unacceptable’ Nelson Abortion Deal,” and “Stupak Aims to Sink ‘Unacceptable’ Abortion Compromise” (from Ben Smith, via Memeorandum). But somehow, I get the feeling the Dems will pass this monstrosity one way or the other, and so I’m looking ahead. See, “‘The Health Care Bill is Political Suicide.’ That Doesn’t Matter to Democrats, Obviously; They Getting Used to Obama Serving Up Lukewarm Half-Measues” (quoting Sean Trende):

If Democrats need to appeal to Independents and moderates to hold their majorities, then passing this bill is a terrible idea. The most recent polling shows that 81% of Republicans and 69% of Independents oppose the healthcare plan (with 74% of Republicans and 57% of Independents strongly opposing it). With majorities of Independents strongly opposed to the bill, it’s really hard to imagine any boost in Democratic turnout from passing the plan being enough to surpass the ensuing backlash from Republicans and Independents.It isn’t even clear that there will be a boost in Democratic turnout. The latest version of the Senate bill holds little appeal for progressives. As I noted on the blog, without a public option, this bill becomes a wet, sloppy kiss to the insurance industry. It doesn’t even represent a substantial triumph for liberalism by significantly expanding government through taxing the wealthy; there are large new subsidies, but for the most part the subsidies are paid for by gouging Medicare and taxing union health benefits. It really reads like a bill a moderate Republican would propose; it is a slightly stronger version of RomneyCare at this point. In other words, the only remaining group that might have even arguably been excited to vote for Democrats on this bill is now at best lukewarm on it.

Cartoon Credit: Bosch Fawstin.

Cross-posted from American Power.

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