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August 19, 2009

Democrats: Wait. We Have Majorities In Both Houses Of Congress We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Republicans To Pass Health Care

Drudge was pushing this NY Times story last night but it turned out to be kind of, meh.

Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said the heated opposition was evidence that Republicans had made a political calculation to draw a line against any health care changes, the latest in a string of major administration proposals that Republicans have opposed.

“The Republican leadership,” Mr. Emanuel said, “has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama’s health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day.”

The article then goes on to note what anyone with half a brain already knows…the Democrats internal divisions are almost as unbridgeable as the ones with the Republicans.

When I read this story last night, all I could think was it was a note to the base that spent the last few days grumbling about Obama's shifts on the public option. When Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow start to get down on Obama, you know it's time for a pep talk.

So while the left may feel better with this pat of the behind, the res of us can deal in facts. The Democrats weren’t wooing Republicans for cover or to be bi-partisan, they simply need their votes. According to one of the left’s favorite analyst, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com, they only have 43-45 votes for a public option out of their 60 seat caucus. So they’d need 5-7 Republicans (Collins, Snowe, Voinivich and…..?) just to get 50 votes even if they decide to go the reconciliation route (which has its own challenges and limits).

Could this change? Could Obama and Reid lean on enough of the 15-17 Democrats who oppose the public option to take one for the team? Maybe but given the trends in Obama’s popularity and public support for this effort, that’s going to be a hell of a sell.

This fight does show that for the most part the US is a country that has to be governed from the center (with a reasonably narrow +/- range to either side of the ideological spectrum). You can have super majorities in both houses but you get their by reaching out to people further from your base. Base conservatives and liberals may wish it were otherwise but if a part can’t pass one of its signature agenda items with 60 Senate seats, a 79 seat House majority and the presidency, I’m not sure what it takes.

That's Our Obama [ace]: Ponder this: Obama has finally discovered that there are some people who can't be negotiated with, who agree to "discussions" chiefly as a delaying tactic using the purloined time advance their own agenda, who are inflexible as to their own purpose and who therefore aren't worth talking with further. And so unilateral action is called for.

These people, it turns out, aren't the Iranian Mullahs, but the Republican fellow citizens of his own country.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:07 AM

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