American Spectator whistling in the dark
During the House debate on the health care bill, innumerable articles appeared in the press about the supposedly insuperable obstacles the bill faced, particularly from the “Blue Dog, conservative” Democrats who, we were told, would oppose the bill because they feared that supporting it would doom their re-election chances in their moderate districts next year. Then—presto—the House passed the bill. And the instant it passed, more articles appeared claiming that, notwithstanding the fact that the bill had just been passed by the House, it was really finished now, it would go nowhere in the Senate, because certain Democratic senators plus St. Joe Lieberman said they would filibuster the bill. Then those same stand-like-a-stone-wall Democrats plus St. Joe voted to advance the bill.
Yet some conservatives still haven’t learned the lesson. As though nothing has happened, Philip Klein writing at The American Spectator rehashes all the arguments about the insuperable obstacles the Democrats face, the compromises they would have to make among themselves on issues on which they have said they would never compromise, before they can pass the bill into law. I don’t buy it. The Democrats have these large congressional majorities and a Democratic president, and this is their best change to do what they have always wanted to do: turn America into a managed, unfree society like those of Europe. They will vote for the bill, no matter how much they dislike particular aspects of it, because to vote against it would be to oppose the central plank of American liberalism at its high water mark. It would be like a Confederate soldier on the afternoon of July 3, 1863 crossing over to the Union lines and firing at Pickett’s charge.
Therefore I don’t think that any process of reasoning or political calculation can turn enough Democrats around to stop the bill. The only thing that might be able to do so is the sheer force of popular rage and indignation, shocking the Democrats and driving them back. And there is time. They will not start debate on the bill until November 30.