Monday, February 8, 2010

Is Everyone Freaking Out?

Well, I returned from a business trip back to DC just in time to get snowed in. Here's a picture of our car yesterday morning. The left front tire is discernible after some digging, but the rest of the car is under about two and a half feet of snow.
It's been interesting watching the city freak out over this snowstorm. The grocery stores in our part of town were absolutely ransacked the two days before the storm. Empty shelves, hour-long lines. People were stocking up like they'd be trapped in their homes for a month. The day after the storm, people who were out and about (including my wife and I) tended to walk in the middle of the streets, since the streets were in better condition than the sidewalks. It gave everything a kind of apocalyptic feel. Everybody would go scrambling when the occasional snow plow came roaring through. And when I wrapped plastic bags around my socks to trudge through the snow in my tennis shoes, it felt even more like a scene from The Road.

Speaking of freak outs, have Democratic leaders decided to just give up on health care after the loss in Massachusetts? I mean, the path forward on health care is clear:
1) The Senate passes a "fix" to its original health care bill using the reconciliation process (otherwise House progressives won't support the Senate's watered down bill),
2) The House passes the Senate's original bill plus the fix bill,
3) President Obama signs the main bill and the "fix" bill into law,
4) Everyone celebrates.

And remember, reconciliation only requires 50 Democratic Senators plus Biden. Who cares about Scott Brown? Who cares about Joe Lieberman? So...what are we waiting for?

Of course no Democratic leader is saying they're giving up. They're just delaying, delaying, delaying. But at some point, you have to ask yourself, What would an epic failure on health care reform look like? I think it would look like a series of delays that goes on and on until all the steam is gone from the activist base pushing reform. Yes, we may be witnessing the Democratic leadership trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again.

It doesn't have to be this way. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid need to take a deep breath, stop listening to the media's narrative about the collapse of the Obama presidency, and ram health care through.

I'd like to close with an open letter...
Dear Democratic Leaders,

Congressional Republicans don't want you to compromise or listen to their "ideas." They want you to dither and fret until the public blames all of its problems on the incumbent party who has nothing to show for its time in office. Stop freaking out over the fact that your huge majority in the Senate is now one seat smaller. Stop freaking out over your declining poll numbers. What did you expect? The public is looking for some of the change they voted for. Deliver some. Start with health care.



Maggie said...

And the people said "AMEN"

Becky said...

Excellent post and well put. I think that is the question: what would their giving up look like? It might look like, "Oh, we're gonna focus on jobs."

Did you see Sarah Palin at that Tea Party convention thing? The point in the Q&A where she has to look at the notes she scribbled on her hand? Awesome.

Camp Papa said...

I completely fail to see any larger issue that would suggest that the Dems shouldn't pass the damn bill. The Repubs have proven they have absolutely no interest in anything passing, so I say pass the bill, already.

(I watched some of the Palin speech and her interview with Wallace, but I lost so many IQ points that I couldn't maintain my metabolic rate and passed out.)

delaine said...

I wonder, is there any person anywhere that thinks the Republicans want to pass ANY health care reform?? Haven't they made their point abundantly clear? DO IT! MUSTER UP THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE, BACKBONE, OR WHATEVER AND DO IT. When will we have such a majority in Congress again? I am tired of all the fecklessness exhibited by Congress. Fecklessness as far as the eye can see.

Dave said...

I didn't see any of Palin's speech, but I did see pictures of the notes on her hand. Weird.

I am still hoping that the White House is using this Health Care Summit thing as one last way to show the public that Republicans are not bargaining in good faith, before they pass the bill through reconciliation. If that is indeed the White House's goal, then the Republicans' absurd response to the summit invitation plays right into it. But if the president thinks that by including more Republican ideas (i.e., changing the bill to insure fewer Americans) he's going to gain more Republican support, he's wasting everyone's time.

Becky said...

Ha! I just read that article you linked. This was funny:

"These are not folks who concern themselves with the appearance of good faith. The only thing missing is an obscure riddle that Obama must answer before he can speak to Mitch McConnell."

Dave said...

I love that line. Ezra Klein is usually pretty good. He's more of a wonk than an activist. But he's a wonk with heart.

Solid said...

The summit is a weird political move. I suspect the President's motives are just what you suggest, but I hold out hope that he may legitimately be coming to hear the Republicans out.