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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Reality to Dems: Be Afraid of NOT Passing Healthcare Reform

Obama addresses DemocratsPresident Obama spoke to Democrats today and he wasn't a whole lot easier on them than he was with Republicans in a similar situation. Throughout the question and answer session, Democrats managed to avoid asking about the elephant in the room -- healthcare reform.

"The closest was New York's Kirsten Gillibrand, who asked about health care for 9/11 responders," writes Ezra Klein. "It felt, for a moment, like we were back in the Bush years. Want to talk health care? Add 9/11 to the sentence."

To Obama's credit, he valiantly twisted questions on things like jobs and partisanship into opportunities to talk about health-care reform. He reminded Democrats that they have the second-largest majority since the 1970s. He mentioned the Village Voice's mocking headline, "Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate." Democrats laughed at that. Obama didn't. "Think about it," he said sternly.

If we don't pass this, he told the assembled Democrats, "I don't know what differentiates us from the other guys." It's nice to believe good things, but no one keeps their home, or pays for their doctor visit, because Democrats believe good things. "If anyone is searching for an answer to the lessons of Massachusetts," Obama continued, "I promise you, it's not to do nothing."

What's especially frustrating about dem fear of reform is that polling shows it wouldn't make any difference whether they pass it or not. "The latest poll from Public Policy Polling finds that Dems are in a tough spot heading into 2010 whether or not they pass health care reform," Greg Sargent reported yesterday. "While this may make some Dems even more skittish about passing reform, this finding, in a rational world, actually presents a pretty strong case for passing it. The poll finds that Republicans lead in the generic ballot matchup 43%-40%." The poll that, when asked about voting for Democrats if they fail to pass reform, support dropped to 38%. In other words, Democrats are in a bad position for 2010 and the only way to make it worse is to not pass a healthcare bill.

Putting aside the bankruptcies and the deaths that result from our current healthcare non-system, failing to pass reform is just plain stupid politics.

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