20 January 2010

So Coakley loses (updated)

Yes, it's a big disappointment, and the trolls and, worse, the cynics and defeatists on our own side will be blathering up a storm across the blogosphere for a while. There will be the usual wallowing in recriminations: if only we'd had a better candidate than Coakley, if only the health-reform bill hadn't had to be stripped of its most popular provisions to get Lieberman's vote, etc. That's not what matters now. What does matter is: Can health-care reform still be enacted? Can an effective jobs bill still be gotten through? (What happens in November will still be determined mostly by how well employment has recovered.) The answers to those questions will be determined less by what the intricate arcana of Congressional procedural rules allow than by what Democrats have the guts to do and what Obama decides to push them to do, and it will take a while for that to become apparent.

(For anyone burned out on election blues, well, the last few posts below are on other topics.)

Don't over-interpret what happened. This was just a single close election under conditions where everything was stacked against us. The Democrats have actually had a productive first year. We don't know whether they will now panic and retreat into more futile bipartisanship and end up in total paralysis, or get tougher. We don't know whether the rightists will overreach or whether the teabaggers will get out of control. On the gloomy day after a defeat, your judgment is not going to be at its best. Time will tell.

Update (21 January): This is worth a read, especially the last three paragraphs. As for me, I'm through with opining about what to do about this. There's no shortage of advice out there -- use reconciliation, pass the Senate bill in the House, water down the reform further to get one Republican vote, drop it and wait until after November, etc. Obama and the Congressional leadership are certainly fully aware of all those options already, and have a much better sense of the real advantages, drawbacks, and likelihood of success of each, than most of the people importuning them to do one thing or another. And don't miss this -- preventing a repeat of the Bush recession is an important issue too.


Blogger Sue said...

The more I think about it the better I feel. See, this HAS to be a wake up call for Obama and Dems, they can turn it into a positive by paying attention to those who elected them and what we elected them to accomplish. First, put the PO back in the HC bill and pass it with 51 votes, then move quickly on the jobs bill. We can not let this election depress us and make us cower and retreat!! We can do this!! (don't tread over to the dark side and read those hideous blogs today! :-) )

20 January, 2010 03:41  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

put the PO back in the HC bill and pass it with 51 votes

That might not be so easy. There are limits on what kinds of things can be passed using "reconciliation" (simple majority with no filibuster) based on how they affect the budget.

There seems to be a consensus that the House could pass the Senate bill as-is (so the Senate wouldn't have to vote on the whole thing again) and then the Senate could pass some improvements to it using reconciliation.

As I say, though, the real question is not whether the rules allow such maneuvers -- they probably do, or can be interpreted to do so -- the question is whether the Democrats have the guts to take advantage of that. Boldness has not exactly characterized them so far.

don't tread over to the dark side and read those hideous blogs today!

Oh, let them gloat. Time will pass and it will become clear to everyone that this isn't as big a deal as it seems today.

20 January, 2010 06:49  
Blogger TomCat said...

I also thing the best course on health care is to pass BARF (Baucus Against a Real Fix)in the House and fix it using Reconciliation, as I indicated in my editorial on the subject.

20 January, 2010 10:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Passing barf is what I felt like doing when I heard the Massachusetts results.

Seriously, let's hope they have the nerve to do it.

20 January, 2010 10:53  
Blogger TomCat said...

Lets hope they have the nerve to do ANYTHING!!

20 January, 2010 12:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'd love to hear some of the discussions which will be had in private over the next few days.

20 January, 2010 12:34  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

I hope some hard words will be exchanged in those behind closed doors meetings, I hope they got the message, and the message is: They've lost the independents."

20 January, 2010 21:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

They've lost the independents.

But if so, the real question is why -- and how to get them back.

21 January, 2010 04:05  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

There is no doubt about it winning any election is hard without the majority of independents behind whoever prevails. They seem to influenced by populist bandwagons and the Republicans are good at driving those, except when in power.

21 January, 2010 19:02  
Blogger TomCat said...

It appears they won't take on BARF, so Plan C is reconciliation.

22 January, 2010 09:28  

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