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Now You See It, Now You Don't!

JackassDemocrats woke up this morning to a harsh new reality. Senator Edward Kennedy’s replacement is a Republican who ran a campaign saying that he’d oppose health care reform. We can leave aside the fact that Massachusetts has a very good, though not perfect, health insurance plan for everyone, making them leery of paying extra taxes to support people in other states. Some people have said that its’a reaction against President Obama’s policies, but there’s little or no evidence to support that.

The plain fact is that people voted for change and when they didn’t get it they reacted negatively. Unfortunately, Massachusetts threw the baby out with the bath water, sending a clear signal to Washington, but decimating the chances of meaningful health care reform. Watch health sector stock prices soar today and the Republicans roasting Democrats on open fires. With only 59 votes in the Senate, passing anything, let alone health care reform, is going to be very difficult.

Some Democrats have been very pessimistic about the prospects of getting a health reform bill passed now. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, said that they’ll get it done, without, of course,saying how. Let’s look at the options:

  1. Drop the whole health care reform bill and try again later – the problem with that is that there might not be another opportunity for ten years. It will further anger the vast majority of Democrats who want to see a health reform bill passed. If they vote the way that Massachusetts did it will be impossible for President Obama to get any more changes through.
  2. Congress could pass the Senate bill as it stands – Although it’s really bad, its better than nothing. However, it will still anger the voters who wanted real results, something that this congress hasn’t been able to deliver.
  3. Go for reconciliation, a technical process in the Senate that only requires 51 votes – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been reluctant to go down that path because it will tie up key people for months and he may even be unable to muster the necessary 51 votes if more Senators start pushing for special deals or start focusing on getting re-elected rather than doing their job.
  4. Pass a much smaller subset of the bills that would achieve something positive and get wide support – This could work, but, again, it’s likely to anger voters even more.

Time will tell which they’ll choose. One thing is very clear, the Democrats, especially the local party, the national leaders and the White House, did a lousy job in Massachusetts. They’ve passed a lot of good legislation, but they’re foundering on the energy issue and they’ve done a truly awful job on health care reform. Should we be surprised? Not if you look at the amount of money poured into politician’s pockets by the health sector, plus the billion dollars they’ve spent trying to defeat the reform bill. Our poll, taken just after the Senate bill was passed, showed that the Democrats were in big trouble even before the upset in Massachusetts. Over 90% of respondents said that Democratic Party Senators should be ashamed of themselves. The same proportion said that they would vote for another candidate next time. Here’s a reminder of that particular result:


Look and learn Senators and Congresspeople! The writing is on the wall. People really do want change. One thing that all of us who believe that health care reform is needed can do is to write to our elected officials in the Senate and Congress. Tell them very clearly that we’ll vote for somebody else at the next election if they don’t deliver what was asked of them, particularly health care reform. Here are their addresses:

Congress Senate Email addresses
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