Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ted Kennedy Is Somewhere Smiling

I'm sure there are those out there who feel like yesterday's historic passage of the health care reform bill in the House of Representatives is no big deal or maybe even with all the back and forth and tea party drama, in the end it was still a bit predictable.

Josh Marshall has a great post talking about this sentiment:

There are many events in life that, while more or less predictable in themselves (House passage of the health care bill), turn out to have an impact and significance that is only truly apparent after they occur. The passage of the House health care reform bill last night strikes me as one of them.

The precise contours of the post-conference legislation remains uncertain in a number of key respects, especially in regards to the public option. But having watched the events leading up to the House vote and the politicking in the senate, I have little doubt that a broadly similar bill will pass the senate, be reconciled with the House bill in a conference report and bill that will be signed by the president in relatively short order.

The reason these sorts of events happen so infrequently is that they are like colossal ships or vast armies, very difficult to build or assemble and get on their way but also extremely difficult to stop or turn once they are under way.

As Bill Kristol noted in his famous 1993 GOP strategy memo on the Clinton health care reform initiative, the key danger Republicans face from health care reform is precisely that the public will like it. And I suspect that the more forward thinking and perspicacious of his partisan colleagues today see it the same way.

If a health care reform bill passes, it's greatest point of vulnerability will be in the 2010 election. That's not only because of the on-going fall-out of the 2008 financial crisis, which sets the Democrats up for a tough midterm election. It's also because a lot of the key reforms in the legislation don't kick in for a few years. But even if you assume the worst possible outcome for the Democrats in 2010, loss of both houses of Congress, Republican majorities still wouldn't be able to overturn the law because President Obama would veto their repeal.

Last night's vote makes me think this will happen and it will be a genuinely historic development.

Don't get it twisted or listen to the naysayers, the House made HISTORY last night.

I think it's very important to put it all in perspective. If it were easy, Congress would've been able to do this in the last 100 years. The NY Times has a great synopsis of the history of healthcare reform that is a must see.

So what now?

There are already those in the Senate who are saying the bill from the House is DOA in the other chamber, but as these things go and I think like with a lot of things in politics, once you get enough momentum in one direction it's very difficult to stop it or turn it in the other direction.

So what do we think? Are the democrats going to get it the rest of the way or am I still being too optimistic?

P.S. There are some things very wrong with the legislation that was passed.

#1 being the HORRIBLE anti-abortion amendment which pretty much sold out women's rights in order to get some conservative democrats on board.

Lastly, here's TPM's collection of the must see clips from the debate yesterday (Trust me it's so entertaining it had me watching C-SPAN for most of my Saturday although the small caveat there is that I'm a super dork who finds this kind of spectacle funny). As someone tweeted yesterday, watching this floor debate was like watching some Hollywood satirical depiction of a dysfunctional government SMH.

Here's another one of my favorite clips from yesterday's floor debate of Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) using a poor innocent infant as a prop.

And then there was Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and her stupid lei.

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