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November 03, 2009

Small Victories: Another Dem Deadline Come and Gone

In July the President said "the time for talk is through." In August, Harry Reid said their proposal would be ready immediately after the summer recess. And on September 22, Obama's OMB director, Pete Orszag, said that the goal was for Obamacare to be a law "over the next six weeks or so, maybe sooner." He bragged, "Prospects for broad-scale health-care reform have probably never been this good."

Today marks six weeks from his statement. At the time, he and the administration were still talking up the Baucus bill—you remember, the one that's been completely ignored after getting bottled up for two months with endless and ultimately fruitless negotiation. Harry Reid would have had his vote right after the summer recess, if it weren't for the Baucus bill. Those two months tore the Democrats to pieces and kept them from ramming through another anti-prosperity, anti-freedom piece of garbage like the spendulus. That was a small victory.

Orszag didn't just pick his six-week deadline out of the air. He knew—Obama knew—that if the healthcare bill passed in less than six weeks, Democrats as a party could go to the polls with something to show for the past eleven months. Lord knows, they haven't managed much else. Just Spendulus, Lily Ledbetter, and Sonia Sotomayor. Party disaffection—at the base—can be an insidious and dogged problem. It starts small.

Orszag also knew that if Obamacare hadn't passed in six weeks, Republican wins today would be nails in its coffin. Today, the Republican candidate for governor will win in Virginia, which voted for the President 52.62% to 46.33%. In today's election, a conservative candidate—a tea party candidate—manages to upset all of the planning and expectations of beltway Washington. These are small victories, but Democrats elected in swing districts are watching and they are doing the math.

So just missing another self-imposed Democratic deadline is a small victory. It starts with small victories in an off-off-election year. When you're out of power, small victories may be all you can manage. But they add up.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:13 AM

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