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January 19, 2010

Brown/Coakley, Healthcare, and Democrats

At the time I'm writing this, Brown has a solid lead over Coakley in Massachusetts (I just misspelled it and corrected it) with 2/3 of precincts reporting.

Here are my predictions going forward.

  • Brown will win and be seated as the 41st Republican Senator.
  • Democrats will not attempt to rush the health care bill through conference before Brown gets seated. The optics are horrible.
  • The House will pass the Senate bill, and Obama will sign it into law.
  • There will be some half-hearted attempts at reconciliation for some improvements.
  • Netroots will again get furious about whatever isn't in the bill going forward, or if the reconciliation bill isn't passed.
  • Progressives left and right will agree with Republicans more and more often that the Obama administration is a failure.

Beyond that, it's hard to say. I'm currently feeling pretty discouraged at the direction we're heading, and not for the reasons that many in the netroots aren't.

If I were to phrase it in a way that others would agree with, I'd say that Obama has done a piss-poor job at communicating with the base. If I were to phrase it in a more controversial way, I'd say he's done a piss-poor job at managing the base's expectations. The base is crazy, and that's about where I get off the train. Obama's failure is that he didn't neutralize the base. The base is basically agreeing with the Republicans that the health care bill is awful, and since Republicans are more set up to run against the Democrats than the base is, then that means Republicans get elected.

The base is wrong and stupid, but there's nothing to be done about that short of a massive education effort that won't get through to anyone. We've still got people arguing that dumping the current bill and starting over with reconciliation would be an improved approach, as if them saying it often enough makes it true, not paying attention to the fact that a reconciliation bill would do nothing for ridding society of medical bankruptcy. The Senate bill is a good bill, far better than a good bill, and it can be built upon. On a night like this it seems no one cares about that.

More later, I'm sure, as I get my head on straight again.

Posted by tunesmith at January 19, 2010 06:39 PM


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