Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Democrats Should Do Now

There's an argument to be made for passing the health care bill before Scott Brown takes his oath of office, but I don't think an angry electorate would be up for what they would perceive as more partisan tricks. I would like to see the House swallow their pride and quickly pass the Senate bill; more importantly I'd like to see a bit of decisiveness from my party. After all: (Amer. Prospect)

Let's say we count how many people each senator represents (I'm using 2009 census data and counting each individual as one-half a constituent for each of his or her two senators). Before today, Democratic senators supporting health-care reform represented a total of 196 million Americans (or 64 percent), while Republican senators opposing reform represented a total of 110 million Americans (or 36 percent). If Brown wins, Democratic senators supporting reform will represent 193 million Americans (63 percent), while Republicans opposing reform will represent 113 million (37 percent). It would be hard to argue that that small change means Democrats no longer have a right to enact their agenda.

This will all be moot, of course, if Coakley prevails. But if Brown wins, Democrats have a choice to make. They can abandon health-care reform literally days from the culmination of a seven-decade effort and betray the millions of Americans waiting for relief from this abomination of a health-insurance system. Doing so would tell the public in no uncertain terms that electing broad Democratic majorities is a waste of time and virtually guarantee the loss of one and perhaps both houses of Congress in this fall's election. Or they can show some spine and do what they were elected to do, even if Republicans squawk.

We'll see which path they choose.

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