And yet, there are people like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who seems completely oblivious to the massive alarm bells ringing throughout the country. One would think this would filter into her, but apparently no:
"The reports of its death, as Mark Twain would say, have been exaggerated," Larson added. "We're going to move forward, and we're going to pass health care reform."
This afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said much the same. "Whatever happens in Massachusetts, we have to do that," she said. "And whatever happens in Massachusetts we will have quality affordable health care for all Americans, and it will be soon."
Oh, boy. Add to that the ramped up call for the "Reconciliation Option," including by the organization, Credo, which sent out an email immediately following the declaration of Brown's win asking people to sign this petition:
Your message to President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
"The loss of Ted Kennedy's seat — due to a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats and Independents — sends a clear message to Congress. The Senate health care bill is not the change we were promised in 2008, and it must be improved. The Senate must use 'reconciliation' to pass a better bill with a strong public option."
In case you don't know what "reconciliation" means, they are suggesting the Democrats use a 51 majority vote to shove through this bill with its payoffs, bribes, and strong-arming. I might add, this tactic was designed for use with BUDGET bills. Clearly, Credo didn't like the message Massachusetts sent, and believes it is a better idea for the Democrats to inflame passions against this bill even MORE by using a filibuster-proof tactic. Nice.
Make no mistake, the Democrats are trying mighty hard to figure out how to get this bill through regardless of what the people say. I mean, really - it's not like it's their JOB or anything to care, right? Ahem.
On the other side, though, one of my favorite Democratic senators (and one I have supported), is Sen. Jim Webb of VA. This was his immediate response to Scott Brown's win:
Less than 15 minutes after the race was called for Republican Scott Brown, the first of what could be many conservative Democrats asks for leadership to put the brakes on health care reform.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) congratulated Brown on his win and delivered a zinger:
"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."
That is more like it. He is hearing the message the people are sending, and wants to take a step back here, and look again at this bill.
But Senator Webb is not the only one. You may be a bit surprised by this, but Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), of all people, warns against changing horses in mid-stream (of course, my cynical side says he is a bit worried about his seat in the future, too):
“I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in Congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican Senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform because I do not think that the country would be well-served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 votes are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of the process.”
Gee, ya think?? You know, it is amazing what it takes to actually get through to these people. Maybe if this doesn't hammer it home, this great piece by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild will:
The problem for the Democrats in Massachusetts was not Martha Coakley; it was the Obama agenda. In 2008, voters believed that they were electing a person who would focus on the economy with laser intensity and lead in a bipartisan and principled matter. What they have gotten is a deeply divisive President committed to transforming America into a European-style social democracy. In this first year, he forced a health care bill at the expense of vitally needed focus on job creation. He has scared hard-working American voters with his hard-left rhetoric and his signature policies.
The Obama approach to health care reform is the most egregious example of breaking trust with the American people. He brokered no Republican compromise; he demonized the other side for being captive to vested interests as he made private deals with Democratic special interest groups like the unions, the insurance companies and "hold-out" Senators like Ben Nelson (who was just looking for his pound of flesh at the expense of the rest of the American people); he outsourced the bill to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid behind closed doors as he focused only on taking the victory lap for pathetic, piecemeal legislation that does not deal with our exorbitant health care costs. Have no doubt, the speech trumpeting "his" historic achievement, where other less talented Presidents than himself have failed, is already loaded on the teleprompter.
These are major negative factors for the independent voters who believed that Barack Obama was a principled and moderate Democrat. This is particularly true in Massachusetts where the nation's only universal health care plan is bankrupting the state because of politicians' congenital inability to deal with spiraling costs. In Massachusetts, a full 47% of voters are Independents, with 33% Democrat and only 11% Republican. For many of these voters, Barack Obama is now a busted flush; he was full of promise but has neither delivered on that promise nor exhibited the capability to deliver. He has broken the trust of the people, and voters are taking the only action available to them: Electing a candidate who can stop the Obama agenda and help restore balance to a broken political system. The voters in the Bay State are resorting to the principle that our Founding Fathers made famous: checks and balances. It is unlikely that all voters overwhelmingly support Republican State Senator Scott Brown, but it is certain that they see him as a vital player in forcing Barack Obama to come back to the center.
Preach it, Sister Lynn! Bring it on home:
This is important to keep in mind in reviewing Tuesday's results. Equally important is to reject the demonization of Coakley that is being perpetrated by the Obama White House and the Pelosi/Reid Congress. Coakley's troubles were never about her as a candidate; she has won state-wide elections before and few would argue she is more removed than John Kerry. Her problem was simply about the President and the radical course being charted by Democrats in Congress. A year after his inauguration -- and three years since Democrats regained Congress -- voters were holding Obama accountable. This simple fact makes scapegoating Coakley unconscionable, and yet this week all knives are out from the Obama White House. Coakley was insufficiently charismatic, leading Democrats are saying; she did not have an emotional connection to the voters. She did not work hard enough. She was more a "nun" than a political candidate!
This is all nonsense of course, but not surprising. After all, it's not the first time the current crop of Democratic party leaders have torn down a talented woman in their midst.
That Hillary Clinton won Massachusetts by a resounding sixteen points in 2008 is not unrelated. While Massachusetts may be bluest of the blue, it's a state where working class liberalism still runs deep, where an honest day's work is still held in higher esteem than entitlement handouts. When Hillary ran on these principles, Massachusetts voters embraced her. And for this same reason, on Tuesday they embraced Scott Brown.
Obama's team may want to make the election about Martha Coakley, but it's not about her. As rank-and-file Democrats try to make Martha Coakley the issue and engage in her assassination, they miss the fact that they are in a circular firing squad. Their problem is that they are out of touch, and their boosters in the media cannot save them.
Voters this week stood up and said 'enough is enough.' It's high time Obama and the Democrats in Congress got the message.
Amen to that. And if they don't get it after this, there is always November...
UPDATE: Ohmygosh - now Barney Frank has done a COMPLETE 180, saying he could vote for the Senate bill now. WTH is wrong with this guy? And who got to him? Wow, he is a piece of work. Way to stick to your guns there, Barney! Yeah. Right.
Second Update: well, Nancy must have heard an earful from the other representatives. Now she says the House has to make changes to the Senate's bill:
Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been struggling for days to sell the Senate legislation to reluctant Democrats in order to get a health-care bill to the president's desk quickly. But House liberals strongly dislike the Senate version, while moderate Democrats in both the House and Senate have raised doubts about forging ahead with the ambitious legislation without bipartisan support.
The only way to keep the Senate bill alive, Pelosi said, would be for senators to initiate a package of fixes that would address House concerns about the bill. In particular, Pelosi described her members as vehemently opposed to a provision that benefits only Nebraska's Medicaid system. Also problematic are the level of federal subsidies the Senate would offer to uninsured individuals and its new excise tax on high-value policies, which could hit union households.
"There are certain things the members simply cannot support," Pelosi said.
Like I said, I guess the representatives let her have it. It will sure be interesting to see what happens next.