“I now put the chances of a substantial health care bill passing at 75%, and the chances of the Democrats losing the house in 2010 at about 66%.” ~ Megan McArdle
Megan’s second estimate is absurd. The 75% chance of health care legislation passing seems about right. (By what statistical analysis? Why – my gut of course!) But really, does Megan honestly think that the Democrats will lose the House in 2010? She predicts this will happen at a staggering 66% – based on what exactly?
I think that ramming through the bill on a party line vote makes it very likely that the Democrats will lose the house in 2010; the American public doesn’t like uniparty votes, especially on something this controversial. A lot of liberals have gotten angry at me for saying this, but it’s not a normative statement; it’s an observation. IF the Republicans had been willing to push forward on a controversial bill with no Democratic cover, we’d have private social security accounts right now. But they weren’t, for a reason.
Again, sheer nonsense. I’m the first to say the current proposals are no good (without major changes), but A) those changes might still happen, and B) the effects of any reform won’t even take place by 2010, at least not in any meaningful way. So the public backlash over any ill effects won’t occur until at least 2012, and the public is so overwhelmingly anti-GOP right now that I can’t imagine a sudden anti-Democratic backlash because they “rammed it through” without bipartisan consensus.
Beyond this, no, Republicans did not have the political capital to push forward their social security reform in the second Bush term. They expended said capital on the wars, and no amount of push could change that.
Seriously, the reason it didn’t pass was not prudence, but cold hard political reality. Since when do Republicans blanch at passing partisan measures? Actually this is one Republican strength. Even if they lose the next election, they win the long-term policy victory by pushing through their reforms, regardless of short-term political costs. Democrats could learn a thing or two.
Either way, it doesn’t apply here. Americans still by and large support some version of health care reform (however nebulous) and overwhelmingly disapprove of the Republican party. That’s not going to change in a year simply because the Democrats grow a pair and push their legislation through – Republicans be damned. Now in a few years the piper may come to collect his dues, but for now they would at least appear victorious.
Via the comments, we have this chart from Kevin Drum to help illustrate my point: