In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.You think that Senator Webb is hoping not to have to cast another vote for the turd bill that Reid has put through?
No matter how they try to spin this election, it is clear that health care was what was on people's minds. Rasmussen found that that was the number one issue on people's minds today. And the Brown voters can't stand Reid's plan. And they wish the Democrats would focus on the deficit rather than health care.
How many other Democratic senators, especially those up for election this year, are wishing they'd known that this was going to happen so they wouldn't have had to cast that damning vote for Reid's bill. As that bill recedes into the past, it will probably become amplified in people's minds about how awful it is. That will become crystallized as the conventional wisdom just as it has become for Hillary's plan. And these Democrats will that vote hung around their necks. They won't be able to disavow it or explain it away. Do you think Ben Nelson is proud of that vote now?
And those House Democrats are sending a loud and explicit message to Nancy Pelosi.
In fact, early signs of split emerged as the polls closed in Massachusetts – between leaders like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer who said “the Senate bill is better than nothing,” and individual members who didn’t want to swallow the Senate’s version of health reform whole.If she's lost Weiner, she's got a big problem and should head back to the drawing board. She might want to pretend that it's all "right on course" but that's just whistling past the graveyard - her caucus's graveyard if she doesn't adjust.
And with the winning majority for a health reform bill in the House so thin, almost any defections at this point would be fatal to reform’s prospects.
"I've maintained for months now that incremental reform in the health care package would make much more sense from my perspective," said California Rep. Jim Costa, one of the last Democrats to vote "yes" on the House bill.
He said he'd like to see Obama tell voters that "we may have been overreaching" and then push for a scaled-back bill that focuses on things more people can agree on, like insurance reforms. He said it's not just a question of the House bill versus the Senate bill. "For me, it's broader than that," Costa said.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), one of the leading advocates for health reform in the House, said, "I don't think it would be the worst thing to take a step back and say we are going to pivot to do a jobs thing" and include elements of health care reform in it.
"If there isn't any recognition that we got the message and we are trying to recalibrate and do things differently, we are not only going to risk looking ignorant but arrogant,” he said.
And her members are telling her and, perhaps more significantly, the media that they ahve no interest in the Sudden Victory Plan B where they pass the Senate bill and then hope to fix the problems later.
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) was skeptical of the two-step scenario. “I've heard that theory but I don't know if it works," he said. "The problem is this we are spending almost a trillion dollars and folks are telling me I should vote yes and we will fix it later. You wouldn't buy a car for a trillion dollars and say yeah, it doesn't run but we will fix it later."The mere fact that the Democrats have talked about this option shows how out of touch they are with the country and, apparently, their own caucus.
Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) said, "We were fully expecting to go some kind of conference committee and work out those differences [with the Senate]. And there are still differences to work out. I cannot imagine, from one person, one member from Indiana, that this House would accept the Senate bill as is."
There are probably a whole lot of Democrats members in both houses who are secretly hoping to have this all out of the way for a good long while and focus on jobs and the economy. Whether their leaders will listen to them is not clear.