Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reid to Senate: Stop Chasing Republican Votes

Roll Call:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday ordered Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to drop a proposal to tax health benefits and stop chasing Republican votes on a massive health care reform bill.

[...] According to Democratic sources, Reid told Baucus that taxing health benefits and failing to include a strong government-run insurance option of some sort in his bill would cost 10 to 15 Democratic votes; Reid told Baucus it wasn't worth securing the support of Grassley and at best a few additional Republicans.

Al Franken's swearing in opens the doors to an actual progressive influence against the vanity of "centrists" and pomp-and-circumstance showmen like Lieberman, hoping to oppose every vote from the White House agenda.

Good news for progressive policy, but public opinion is fickle, and many are already hand-wringing over what this means for 2010. Admittedly, super-majorities are generally short lived at the federal level, but as for 2010, Democrats will be defending less seats against an opposition party that still doesn't seem to have crafted a message beyond tea-parties and doubling down on policy a majority of the country has rejected in full two election cycles and running. In addition, it's very difficult to put faith in Reid. Remember the FISA rollover, shutting out Dodd, and the "don't expect too much" speech? I'm not convinced that Reid is gone.

There's an opportunity here to push through much needed reform and more forward thinking policy in several areas (health care, immigration, infrastructure, as just a start) and a 4 to 6 year window to do so without souring Obama's popularity.

8 to 10 if the Michelle Bachman and Jim Demint keep talking.


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