Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Health Care Reform Hangs On Mass. Senate Race

Boy, oh, boy, but President Obama may see his entire administration and that reformer legacy he so craves implode next Tuesday.

That's when a special election is being held to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts.

A Republican hasn't been elected to the Senate from Massachusetts since 1972, so the Democratic candidate was expected to cruise to an easy victory.

But now a Republican just may win that seat come Tuesday.

The race matters because a Republican win takes the 60 seat majority away from Dems and could paralyze the Senate in cloture votes (it takes 60 votes to get anything passed these days.)

Early on, Martha Coakley, a lackluster candidate, looked like she'd win pretty easily, but in the last week several polls have come out showing her Republican challenger in the lead.

That includes Coakley's own internal poll, which shows Brown beating her 47%-44%.

Now special elections are notoriously difficult to handicap because you never know who is going to show up to vote.

But this one might be a little easier to prognosticate.

Republicans and some independents with more conservative bents are angry as hell and itching to send Obama and Dems a message the way Dems and some independents were itching to send Bush and the GOP a message in 2006.

Democrats and liberals, on the other hand, seem dispirited and lackluster about the election and about the direction the Obama administration is going in.

Health reform, doubling down on the Agfhan war, expanding the Bush WoT surveillance policies, reneging on his promise to get rid of DaDT not to mention the trillions Obama has handed Wall Street in bailout money, have many on the left looking to send Obama a message too.

It's a perfect storm for Coakley's ship to go down in.

But if Coakley goes down, so does health care reform.

Her seat is the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate.

Brown says he will vote to kill health care.

He wins and health care reform is dead.

Unless the House swallows the Senate version of the bill, already passed, without any changes.

Then that bill could be sent to the president without having to be voted on again by the Senate.

The Senate version of the bill is of course horrendous - lots of goodies and giveaways to the insurance industry, all funded on the backs of workers with employer-provided health care plans through a 40% excise tax.

Progressives in the House say they will not pass that version of the bill in the Congress.

In which case, sayonara to health care reform.

And sayonara to Obama.

Clinton survived the death of his health care bill, but Clinton was a lot more skilled politically then Obama.

Other than giving a good speech, I have yet to see from him any of the skills Obama would need to survive the death of health care reform (and the enemies that would then embolden) and the loss of the Congress in November.

For my part, I'm hoping the Repub wins on Tuesday, health care reform gets killed, Dems lose the House in November and Obama becomes a weakened lame duck wobbling toward 2012.

I've had enough of Mr. Obama and the corporate whores he has surrounded himself with running the country.

Dems running for re-election in November are going to have to defend a crappy health care reform measure (if it passes), the Wall Street bailout, 10% unemployment, a stimulus package that seems to have stimulated little job growth (though the financial sector is doing well again), a mortgage plan that has helped only 7% of people who have applied for it, an excise tax levied on middle and working class people to pay for health care reform, and a possible double dip recession in the second half of the year.

Not a pretty record of accomplishment to run on or defend, is it?

Much of this could have been solved had Obama focused on job creation, stimulus, infrastructure building and other programs to put Americans to work here in America rather than handing money out to banks so they could invest it elsewhere or his health care reform giveaway to the insurance industry.

But he didn't and so what we essentially are seeing is a Democratic Party having to defend policies that are indefensible.

My guess is that Coakley goes down and Obama is going to try and force House Dems to swallow the Senate version of the bill whole.

He'll appeal to their sense of loyalty to the party and maybe that will work though I hope it doesn't.

No matter what, this has been a terrible year for this president and the Democratic Party.

Hell, it's not even one year that he's in office and his poll numbers are plummeting.

Heckuva job, Barack!!!

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