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What happens to health-care reform if Martha Coakley loses?

coakleybrown.JPG

A bunch of you have e-mailed me asking what I think of Martha Coakley's increasingly hapless campaign for Ted Kennedy's seat. I have no idea. I'm not very good at predicting elections. But I don't think this is particularly important for health-care reform. If Scott Brown takes the seat, then one of two things will happen.

1) Democrats will wrap negotiations and pass the bill before he gets there. It will take some time before Massachusetts certifies Brown's election, and then the Senate has to schedule his swearing-in. It also looks like those dates can be monkeyed with a bit. Given that there's not much left to be done on the health-care bill, Democrats can move pretty fast on this if they suddenly need to do so.

2) The House will pass the Senate bill unchanged, possibly with the understanding that changes will be made through reconciliation at some later date. In fact, there's an empty reconciliation vehicle sitting around that could be used for precisely that purpose.

That said, it would certainly be easier for Democrats if Coakley just holds the seat. And incidentally, even the polls showing Brown surging show that Massachusetts supports the health-care reform bill. Coakley has to be running a pretty bad campaign if she's losing ground to a Republican who wants to kill Ted Kennedy's popular legacy bill.

Photo credit: By Steven Senne/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  January 13, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms , Health Reform  
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Comments

- "ENRON" Health Care - collect for 4 years, score for 10 and pretend the real cost isn't $2.1 Trillion

Posted by: jercary | January 13, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Get a grip. She is running in Massachusetts. They would elect a brain dead moron to the Senate if she/he ran as a Democrat.

Posted by: WoodbridgeVa1 | January 13, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes what a stupid campaign decision it was for Obama to pass too small a stimulus and then ignore the huge problems in the economy.

Posted by: endaround | January 13, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

As a mass voter this is why I think Brown will win. From the poll: However, even in Massachusetts, just 38% believe that increases in government spending generally help the economy. Forty-four percent (44%) say such spending generally has a negative impact. As for taxes, 56% believe that tax hikes are bad for the economy while 23% think they help.

Posted by: obrier2 | January 13, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

My gut tells me that this "what, me worry?" post will come back to haunt you.

Posted by: scarlota | January 13, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse


we only have what we have,
and we never know what will happen next.
the three legged stool
of hope, love and courage.
it once was a chair with four legs....
the fourth being reason.
but that seems to have gotten sawed away.

Posted by: jkaren | January 13, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Eh, it's just predictive analysis. If events prove it wrong, I'll, you know, write another post that works off more concrete information.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | January 13, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

jercary, you should at least make sure the talking points you parrot are "true" in some sense, so as to avoid looking stupid.

CBO scores of both the House and Senate bills indicate that they will continue to reduce the deficit indefinitely, even after the startup period.

Posted by: dal20402 | January 13, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm trying to resist comparisons to Shannon O'Brien (who gave us Mitt) because it would seem like I'm just saying women are bad candidates for statewide office in MA. But seriously- win the primary by saying you're the establishment, not-too-liberal, safe choice (O'Brien ran against Robert Reich, Coakley against Capuano) and then blow it in the general. Capuano would be burying this clown Brown because he would have run a real campaign.

Posted by: _SP_ | January 13, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

CBO scores do no such thing. Substantiate your claim that they do. indefinitely? Ridiculous. In a close race like the Mass. one appears to be, ACORN and other election fraud practitioners can probably carry Coakley over the finish line, despite her uninspiring campaign.

Posted by: truck1 | January 13, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

_SP: As an ex-Massachusetts resident (and a female), I completely agree with you about the Shannon O'Brien parallel. Worst. campaign. ever. Would Romney still have beaten Reich? Possibly so, but at least we would have felt we hadn't thrown it away.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | January 13, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

While I hope Coakley wins, what will be amusing is if Brown does win and the Democratic leadership stalls him at all, there will be howls upon howls from people like McConnell and Cornyn who will have forgotten all about their role in the Al Franken episode.

Posted by: scott1959 | January 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein is hoping that the Dems just rush the HC bill through before Brown can do any "damage" to the travesty created and promoted by Democrats.
Again, Klein reveals that same mentality displayed by Reid and Pelosi, his heroes; that is, just ram that bill through, even if the majority of Americans find it unfair and unethical. The lack of transparency in discussions and decisions, the disregard for input from representatives from a huge section of Americans, and the fact that the HC bill monstrosity is an "unknown" which is virtually unread.
"Kennedy's popular legacy bill"??? I don't think so Mr. Klein. Wake up.

Posted by: pjcafe | January 13, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I wish the dems had the guts to put gov. take over of health care on C-Span like the man-child promised over and over and over. I see that health care reformed morphed into insurance reform and now it’s back to health care reform. The ultra liberals are now showing their true colors and blatantly showing their distain for the American people.
This isn’t over until it’s over. These hijackers of the American system will get thir just due in the mid-term and beyond.

Posted by: GaGator | January 13, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"dal20402 wrote: CBO scores of both the House and Senate bills indicate that they will continue to reduce the deficit indefinitely, even after the startup period."

The CBO reports 7 billion of those savings relate to the revision bio-fuel tax credits, which has nothing to do with health care and is being used by Democrats to bring down the costs of the bill. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10868/12-19-Reid_Letter_Managers_Correction_Noted.pdf


"Ezra Klein wrote: polls showing Brown surging show that Massachusetts supports the health-care reform bill."

Those polls are much closer than you suggest. 52% support it to 46% opposed.

Posted by: cprferry | January 13, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Just going off of my almost totally politically uninformed office on the South Shore, nobody understands the policy of it. It's all the politics, and the politics of the health care bill have been really poorly done. I mean I have a coworkers who are going to pay taxes on their domestic partner's health care and are going to vote for Brown/don't like the healthcare bill. MA doesn't support the plan more than 52% because it is overly complicated and doesn't go far enough, even though it would change the health system less in MA than in any other part of the country.

Posted by: tmorgan2 | January 13, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The bill is overly complicated because it has nothing to do with Sen. Kennedy's legacy of health care reform and everything to do with New Democrats using populist desires for legislation that grants them power, control and campaign donations from those they exempt from the bill.

Posted by: cprferry | January 13, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

****Again, Klein reveals that same mentality displayed by Reid and Pelosi, his heroes; that is, just ram that bill through, even if the majority of Americans find it unfair and unethical.*****

The American people went to the polls in 2008 and chose the Democratic party to lead in both the legislative and executive branches. Making health insurance universal has long been a goal of the Democratic party. In short, elections have consequences, and we don't govern by opinion polls in our system. Deal with it.

Just to reiterate something I said mentioned yesterday, as long as the Democrats can pass a health care bill, I almost welcome a Brown win. For one thing, for all its warts, I prefer the Senate version at this point because of the excise tax. We simply MUST begin tackling the explosive growth of health care costs in this country, and reducing the tax code favoritism for health insurance is one small step in this direction (a Brown victory would quite possibly result in the House simply passing the Reid bill intact). And for another thing, as a Massachusetts liberal, I'm not sure it would be such a bad idea to give the seat to a right winger like Brown, and let him be decimated in 2012 by a stronger Democratic nominee: yes, it's true Coakley hasn't run a very good campaign (talk about stiff!), but maybe the problem is she's simply not a very solid candidate.

Posted by: Jasper99 | January 13, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

*****Just going off of my almost totally politically uninformed office on the South Shore, nobody understands the policy of it. It's all the politics, and the politics of the health care bill have been really poorly done.*****

TMorgan2: Although I have no doubt you're accurately describing the knowledge level at your office, I wonder what the alternative was. Conceptually, the simplest approach would have have something along the lines of "Medicare for all," -- but unfortunately the votes for such a plan didn't exist in a world where Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson get to write the bill. A mandate/subsidize/regulate approach isn't all THAT complicated if people are willing to carefully follow the debate. The problem is most people don't have the same level of interest in public affairs as the average reader of blogs like Ezra's. I mean, what percentage of Americans could, with some reasonably meaningful degree of accuracy, describe the Medicare program (including funding mechanisms, eligibility, etc.)? Or the Social Security program (same details)? Or the difference between public and national debt? Or the composition of federal revenues? Or what a cloture vote is? Or US GDP to within 3 trillion?

It's a pretty small number of folks. And it's really not the fault of Obama or Pelosi or Reid or McConnell or anybody. Most people are a lot more interested in the travails of the Gosselins than the workings of the Senate.

Absent substantial wonkiness, most Americans simply have to rely on their gut instincts, and common sense, and their accumulated wisdom, when it comes to pulling the lever for this or that candidate. I believe the American people DID choose wisely 14 months ago, and if Democrats just keep their nerve, things will work out for the best.

Posted by: Jasper99 | January 13, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

sophic wrote:
Update,
The Democrats are getting ACORN involved...
The telltale signs to look for:

1) more votes in your district than voters

2) names like Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Daffy Duck, Fog Horn, Porky Pig and Al Gore on the voting list along with lots of dead people...

3) don't be fooled by the media ignoring these serious abnormalities...

4) Panthers with AK-47s at voting booths asking for your party affiliation...

5) unknown Czars running the voting booths...

6) Electronic voting machines on the Democrat side and old punch card voting devices that were shown defective in the "hanging chad" years on the Republican side

7) stramge people outside handing out money to certain people

Posted by: ProCounsel | January 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Nada! Thank God!

Posted by: candyzky | January 13, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein
I have news for you, Martha is not only done she will lose worst than Shannon O'Brien. She is an incompetent idiot. Massachusetts will sink Obamacare once and for all.
Remember is not is not Kennedy seat is our
seat.

Posted by: Red_mass | January 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Think about what you just said. That if Brown wins the Dems will just resort to trickery to prevent him from representing Mass. in the Senate! Have you no sense of fairness or integrity? Is this the Democrat mantra? To win by any means and at any cost? God how a I hate what you have done to the discourse in our country. Think of the founding fathers and how they all had different views but came up with one of the most magnificent documents in history. And without bribes and backroom deals like the vermin in DC employ. You and the rag you write for should be ashamed.

Posted by: inspectorudy | January 13, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Ted Kennedy's popular legacy bill."

I think most Post readers have figured out by now that Ezra is Harry Reed's cabana boy.

Posted by: josettes | January 13, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

****The American people went to the polls in 2008 and chose the Democratic party to lead in both the legislative and executive branches. Making health insurance universal has long been a goal of the Democratic party. In short, elections have consequences, and we don't govern by opinion polls in our system. Deal with it.****

Did the anti-war left roll over and admit defeat when America went to the polls in 2004 and re-elected George W Bush with a then record high number of total votes?

The American people are starting to correct their 2008 mistake. It starts in Massachusetts.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | January 13, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Even if the Democrats successfully keep Brown from being sworn in before Obamacare passes, the damage said subterfuge will create with the population, especially independents and moderates, will be helpful to the GOP in November.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | January 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ezra - I guess it helps you sleep better at night thinking that the only reason Coakley may lose in a state that has a 3-1 margin Dem-Repub is because she has run a poor campaign. Sure, this has zero reflection on Obama's and the Democratic Congresses popularity and the healthcare bill.

Denial must be like a sleeping pill for you! Sleep well.

Posted by: VUboy | January 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The absolute worst thing (for themselves) the Dems could do would be to delay Brown's confirmation and ram the health care bill through anyway. This Senate election has essentially become a national referendum on this bill (witness the donations for Brown coming in from all over the country). Defying the will of the people will only further alienate them from the Democrat party.

Posted by: dumbass1229 | January 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

LOL! That's funny Ezra. Even Dems know this healthcare bill is "hanging by a thread".

Every poll out there says the same thing, that Americans hate it and don't want anything to do with it.

If a Republican wins Kennedy's seat in Mass on top of everything else, the Dems will run screaming and a 41st Republican vote will be completely unnecesarry.

Posted by: IUT1 | January 13, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"It also looks like those dates can be monkeyed with a bit."

This blatant disregard for fair play, integrity, and the American People is why the Progressive Movement is a sinking ship.

Posted by: conservativemom2 | January 13, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

How does a moron like this have a job?

Posted by: sayitaintsokerry | January 13, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Democrats will wrap negotiations and pass the bill before he gets there."

really?

moderate dems are going to rush to 'get er done' in the face of a democrat losing in MA?

the alternative:
the moderates just delay the bill, allowing time for brown to be certified, and save their party.

sorry ezra,
the outcome of the healthcare bill and the ma senate race are not mutually exclusive events.

Posted by: owenmagoo | January 13, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"CBO scores of both the House and Senate bills indicate that they will continue to reduce the deficit indefinitely, even after the startup period." -
Posted by: dal20402
=========================
Problem is, there are TONS of hypotheticals built into the bills that Congress has historically trashed (DocGap, anyone?) once the bill's a law. All CBO can do is grade what specious crap the Dems give them, even if they know full well that the cost savings provisions are simply mechanisms to throw the costs into other programs, or projected cuts that'll be overridden in the future.

Posted by: OttoDog | January 13, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

This post is a little what if-ish. As you pointed out in your comment "Eh, it's just predictive analysis ..."

However, there is a different part of it that you are overlooking.

If Brown wins, will any current vote panic and flip?
You only need one in the Senate unless you pass the Senate whole.

And even in the House.
220 minus the retirement of the one fCongressman from Florida to go run a think tank in Isreal and the lone Republican vote who said he will NOT be the vote that PASSES it ...

There is only one vote to SPARE in Congress.
One. Only a one vote margin.


I believe without a Coakley lose it would be a done deal as Pelosi would get others who she allowed to vote no to cover their butt since they were not necessary.
But if Coakley loses -- getting others to jump on board is going to take more than arm twisting and heavy lifting.

And even just one who voted for it before blinking ...

You see everyone is so focused on the Senate because of the drama of the holidays they forget that the House was so razor thin, it is NOT a done deal.

Posted by: chromenhawk | January 13, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kline;

This is simply garbage that you spew! The Senate will not refuse to seat a duly elected Senator, while they pass a major bill requiring the vote of an interim Senator, who’s only shred of legitimacy, is to ensure the voices of people of Massachusetts are expressed.

The Democratic legislative agenda is now clearly seen to contort the laws of this country; to take the wealth from middle class families who create it; and then to provide it as handouts to government bureaucrats, union bosses, ivory tower intelligencia, trial lawyers, slanted journalists, and other well credentialed liberals.

American families are now thoroughly convinced that we cannot create wealth, or create jobs, or improve our standard of living, by sending more money to Washington. In response you and other liberals simply want to “monkey ” with elections and the political system, and shred the constitution, to exact your pound of flesh from those who produce wealth in this country.

This week marks the high-water-mark of the liberal attempt to take over our economy. Over the next decade will see the dismantling of the federal bureaucracy and the stifling obligations our “public servants” and “public representatives” have burdened the citizens of this country with. The liberal moral and economic bankruptcy will be reversed.

Posted by: ELFopportunity | January 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't have this problem if the Democrats would just refuse to seat any Republican in the first place.

Posted by: member5 | January 13, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

While I hope Coakley wins, what will be amusing is if Brown does win and the Democratic leadership stalls him at all, there will be howls upon howls from people like McConnell and Cornyn who will have forgotten all about their role in the Al Franken episode.

Posted by: scott1959 | January 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse


Scott,

you act like Dems don't do this? Do you forget what happened in MASS with the passing of Senator Kennedy. Dems adjust laws to suit themselves just like Republicans do. Don't fool yourself or try to fool anyone else about that fact.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 13, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

OK Ezra, this makes me feel better. We can let the complacent, undynamic Coakley lose and get the seat back next time.

Posted by: michaelriccardi62 | January 13, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

they actually seated Senator Kirk pretty quick now didn't they though.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

So in other words Ezra the Democrat Party at the State, Local, and Federal level will enage in corruption in order to subvert the will of the American people.........

Well..........that sure sounds like today's Democrat Party

We The People are sure our liberal/progressive MSM wolfpack press will do everything they can too......to makes this so.........afterall they installed/elected Obama last November

Posted by: allenridge | January 13, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm baffled by the assertion that "there's not much left to be done on the health-care bill". Everything I've read indicates the House and Senate are miles apart and that a great deal of work remains. Mr. Klein, can you elaborate on this?

Posted by: dcraker | January 13, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

While I hope Coakley wins, what will be amusing is if Brown does win and the Democratic leadership stalls him at all, there will be howls upon howls from people like McConnell and Cornyn who will have forgotten all about their role in the Al Franken episode.

Posted by: scott1959 | January 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse


Scott,

you act like Dems don't do this? Do you forget what happened in MASS with the passing of Senator Kennedy. Dems adjust laws to suit themselves just like Republicans do. Don't fool yourself or try to fool anyone else about that fact.

Posted by: visionbrkr | January 13, 2010 4:49 PM |
=====================================

visionbrkr .....Scott probably doesn't know that fact........he probably reads the liberal POST and watches MSNBC.

So how would Scott know the truth and all the facts............he can't when it's being censored 24/7.

Posted by: allenridge | January 13, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein is another partisan hack. No sense reading him for objective review, solid analysis, or anything other than partisan drivel. However if you like partisan drivel, you'll love him.....

Posted by: subframer | January 13, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The voters of MA must be tired of the corruption and incompetence. The Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback. Trillions and trillions in corrupt spending and debt. "They System Works" clearly isn't working. Its rare that voters in one election can send this strong a message to those in complete power. Let's hope the voters of MA take this once in a generation opportunity to send a freezing artic wind whipping through DC, and really make a difference!!!!

Posted by: valwayne | January 13, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to believe that all of the 60 who voted for the Senate bill would conspire to defy democracy. Would Joe Lieberman, who sued George Bush to "make every vote count" in 2000, really vote to cut off debate after Brown wins? Or Robert C. Byrd, who cares more about the Senate's tradition than a bill he may not live to see signed? Or Nelson, Lincoln, or even (poor suffering soul) Harry Reid?

Posted by: SWSomerville | January 13, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

There is a difference between the Frankin and the Brown situations.

Frankin was not prevented from taking his seat by the Senate itself; it was by legal actions contesting the campaign.

But to intentionally draw out seating Brown so you can pass a Bill is outragious!

Mostly since Brown winning is an indication that Mass voters are AGAINST the health care reform bill. But they will do this because the man in the seat now has said he will vote for the health bill even knowing that the people he represents are against it!

That is classic liberal Democrat. Do as I say, sit down and shut up.

A Pelosi quote "The American people will learn to like the health care bill, after we pass it".

How nice. Consent of the governed, Democrat style!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | January 13, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, with a mere 52% in favor and a full 46% opposed, it's a bit of a stretch to conclude that "Massachusetts supports the health-care reform bill" -- it's nearly an even split. And if this poll is consistent with most other polls, it's highly likely that those who "strongly oppose" the bill outnumber those who "strongly support" it.

Posted by: atan1 | January 13, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

HOw does the Washington Post explain hiring a blogger who takes such overt advocacy for one side, when there is absolutely no balance. Ezra Klein is an extreme liberal, which represents less than 20% of the country. Even in the D.C. area, Ezra's view doesn't cover 1/3 of the readers views.

WHy would the Washington Post, puzzled over declining subscriptions, alienate 75% of its readers by no giving the other side a blogger? No opposing views, just mouth pieces for the DNC.

Seriously, why can't they hire someone who isn't beholden to a radical viewpoint to the extent he sacrifice the troops, and acts as the cheerleader for one political party?

It makes FOX NEWS look better and better.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | January 13, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Ezra plays "this poll says this but that poll says that." A reasonable interpretation is that people like the idea of automatically getting health care coverage, but it is a fairy tale or a dream. When a bill is written, and people see what it actually entails, the HATE it.

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | January 13, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

unemployed in massachusetts?

is money tight?

cold,angry??

anxious that under Depression Obama there are over 6 americans looking for a job for every 1 job opening??

are you retired, on medicare and angry that obamacare is going to STEAL your benefits--that YOU paid for all those years??

see, Obama and the Dems will NOT listen

unless you SLAP them at the polls

VOTE Republican
VOTE Brown

Posted by: ProCounsel | January 13, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis, Ezra, and in reading the comments, a cross-ssection of the stupidity, dishonesty, and rank thirst for power that is today's Right wing.

Coakley will win, just like today's special election in Virginia elected a Democrat to the VA Senate in THE SAME STATE that the Conservatwerps were crowing about last Election Day.

Posted by: Wellstone | January 13, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I think the anaysis is incorrect because mr Klein ignores one important reality Representives and senators will be looking for any excuse to vote know if brown wins and the democrats appear to be tinkering with democracy in delaying swearing in of elected senator vs maintaning in office an appointed senator

Posted by: dgarbowit | January 13, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you're in such a la-la land. (Always.) If you think the American people would let this happen, you're gobsmacked, as the English say. Not a chance. If Dems lose this election, or if it's close, you and all the other lefties will have to STOP the health care bill in its tracks. Don't you understand you're not in charge of our country?

Posted by: spk2moi | January 13, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

*****Don't you understand you're not in charge of our country?*****

No. We don't "understand" this. Who do YOU think is in charge? The Republicans?

Last time I checked the Democrats held both the White House and both houses of Congress. And, as Ezra has pointed out, Democrats could get a bill passed either by simply speeding up the House/Senate talks, or be having the House vote on the Senate bill as is.

You conservatives constantly give off the impression that you do not accept the legitimacy of anybody else's political victories. But there's no mistaking what happened in 2008: the Democrats deepened their majorities in both houses, and took the White House. Deal with it.

Posted by: Jasper99 | January 13, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

It is very different not seating Franken, while his seat remains empty. The Democrat plan to ignore the will of the voters, by letting a usurper retain control of the seat, makes a mockery of the stated goal of Massachusetts general assembly: to ensure its citizens have a voice in the debate. Yet more Liberal monkeying with the elections, politics and laws of this country.

Posted by: ELFopportunity | January 13, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting enough is that most people in Mass. are satisfied with the PRESENT healthcare , insur. and all. Brown is showing the voters that this ObamaCare does zip for the voters. Nada. Brown is also showing what a phony Coakley is on crime and her cred on international affairs,Afghan, national security , is almost nil And voters still care even in a Blue State like Mass. If Kirk stalls , if Brown wins, the other states will also be howling because nationally, Obamacare is tanking very fast. The Dems do not have the courage to face down the Messiah ala both Nelsons, Bayh, Landrieu, Libermann because each of them has been bribed. And Kirk after all is a non-entity in DC. The payback will be in the House even if Care passes. And if the Pubs pick up say, 6-7 Senate seats, Obama will have hell to pay as he tries to pass anymore socialist pacifist malarky. And he will.

Posted by: phillyfanatic | January 13, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

*****Coakley will win, just like today's special election in Virginia elected a Democrat to the VA Senate in THE SAME STATE that the Conservatwerps were crowing about last Election Day.*****

I agree. She's hitting Brown HARD now on his myriad weaknesses -- especially his lockstep views with the extreme right. I especially like the one done by the good folks at SEIU:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12OZNOJncHs

Simple, but effective.

Go Martha!

Posted by: Jasper99 | January 13, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

One thing we can hope for as the horror of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid debacle in American government passes into history very soon (2010 seems likely, but 2012 is the nearly certain curtain drop on Democrats' brief hold on the White House and both houses of Congress): creepy political hobbyists of the left like Ezra Klein will go the way of James Carville, yammering their predispositions on every issue into the void for the amusement of the MSNBC audience. One can only hope that the madness inflicted on the country by the belief system of the professors, public-sector union members and leaders, trial lawyers, naive co-eds and post-grads, and fading hippies who constitute the majority of the progressive movement can be reversed.

Posted by: Imperfections | January 13, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Lets remember that the CBO has to score bills based on assumptions that are handed to it. The legislators give a cover page that tells the CBO to use the below assumptions. Within the bill itself, the CBO has to assume that the best case occurance when there is conflicting demands.
The CBO took the unusual act to actually say that several assumptions are not likely to occur. Even they couldn't score with a straight face. Cuts in Medicare that are added yearly then replaced by future legislative action (i.e. no money actually materializes) is used to save the program, extend coverage and reduce borrowing costs. The same money, not likely to be available, is used three time. Interest on the 3 - 4 years of income before the majority of expenses materialize but congress never leaves money in the bank. They spend it and place IOU's in a "locked box" Further we don't know what other kick backs and "goodies" have been promised since the CBO scored they bill, since we still can't see the deliberations.

The Republicans have put out pieces of their plan; national insurance for greater efficiency; tort reform; greater sharing of information. (note when Republicans offered this it was invasion of privacy and what if this database is hacked, not much concern when Dems want the same thing.)
When the Dems offer such an anti-American piece of legislation; I offer them kudos for being the party of NO!. If the Dems would play fair and allow for true negotiations then they could be held accountable. Why spend time and money forming legislation that Reid and Pelosi will never let see the light of day (to many of their own would vote for it as a valid alternative so they can say they voted for something)rather than spending that time working to defeat a faulty socializing piece of legislation that will be voted on.

Posted by: traumarn1993 | January 13, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

Sorry, but I have to disagree with your analysis (for reasons posted in the link). If Coakley loses, health care reform dies for the near future.

http://www.thefourthbranch.com/2010/01/what-if-coakley-loses-in-mass/

Posted by: thefourthbranchcom | January 14, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, actually your wrong. According to a the Washington Post dated Jan 13th, only 43% of Massachusatts voters approve of the current health bill. You put a link to the Rasmussen Poll on the election, but didn't back up your statement of support for the health bill. Here, I'll do it for you.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Even-in-Massachusetts-weak-support-for-Dem-health-care-bill-81112097.html

Posted by: wyeast | January 14, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

You are forgetting: Kirk's term of office ends with the special election. And so Kirk will no longer be a senator on Wednesday.

Remember what was reported and stated in September??

The MA government web site: Today, Governor Patrick has appointed Paul G. Kirk, Jr. to serve as interim Senator until the special election in January.

Obama: I am pleased that Massachusetts will have its full representation in the United States Senate in the coming months, as important issues such as health care, financial reform and energy will be debated. Paul Kirk is a distinguished leader, whose long collaboration with Senator Kennedy makes him an excellent, interim choice to carry on his work until the voters make their choice in January."


The Kennedy Family: Today is a wonderful day for the people of Massachusetts and the country. We are enormously thankful to Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo and all of the members of the Massachusetts Senate and House who worked to assure that the people of the Commonwealth have two senators during this interim period before the special election on January 19, 2010. Governor Patrick could not have selected a more outstanding person to serve as Massachusetts's interim senator than Paul Kirk.

Kirk’s own web site: Senator Paul G. Kirk Jr. today received his committee assignments from Majority Leader Harry Reid and will participate in his first hearing tomorrow. He will serve on the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Committee on Armed Services through the end of his term in January.

Mass radio web site: Gov. Deval Patrick names Paul Kirk to fill Massachusetts' vacant US Senate seat until the special election in January.

Mass local newspaper: Patrick’s appointment means Kirk will serve in the interim post until voters pick a replacement in a Jan. 19 special election. Kirk said he would not be a candidate in the special election.

NY Times: Mr. Kirk, a longtime friend of the Kennedy family and onetime special assistant to Senator Kennedy, is scheduled to take the oath of office on Friday and serve until a special election on Jan. 19; he has pledged not to run in the election. He said on Thursday that he would keep the late senator’s staff in place.

British Telegraph: Mr Kirk, an attorney and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will fill the seat until Massachusetts voters elect a permanent replacement on Jan. 20.


And the Constitution: When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

Starting Wednesday, Kirk is a former senator, and will no longer be able to provide the 60th vote.

Posted by: danielchi | January 14, 2010 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Get a grip. She is running in Massachusetts. They would elect a brain dead moron to the Senate if she/he ran as a Democrat.

....

Indeed; they elected Ted 'The Swimmer' Kennedy how many times?

Posted by: Grabski | January 14, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

endaround Yes what a stupid campaign decision it was for Obama to pass too small a stimulus and then ignore the huge problems in the economy.

....

Yeah, because we aren't paying state workers enough.

Posted by: Grabski | January 14, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

As usual, Mr. Klein is blogging before thinking. Does he really believe that a Republican winning Teddy Kennedy's seat whil vowing to be the 41st filibuster vote to prevent the healthcare bill's passage holds no potential to change the votes of any other Democrats facing re-election in ten months? No wonder he's "not very good at predicting elections."

Posted by: reheiler | January 14, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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