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Passing health-care reform: Still a good idea


Nate Silver doesn't understand how any Democrats looking at their poll numbers could possibly decide against passing health-care reform:

Tracking the Congressional Democrats' approval ratings in Quinnipiac polling over the past six months -- they're now down to just 28 percent overall, including 19 percent (!) among independents -- is interesting in this respect. Both times that the Congress approved a health care bill -- the House on November 7th, the Senate on December 24th -- the Democrats got a bounce from among their own voters without suffering any further harm from Republicans and independents. Meanwhile, the Democrats' approval rating has sunken to a new low among all three groups in Quinnipac's latest poll after three weeks of inaction on health care reform, which most voters no longer expect to pass.

All of this will be moot, of course, when Judd Gregg swoops in to save the Democrats on health-care reform...

By Ezra Klein  |  February 11, 2010; 11:27 AM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Next: The Senate Finance Committee's jobs bill


Just like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, health care reform is still dead.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | February 11, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Why do Democratic members of the Senate need Judd Gregg to "save" healthcare? The thing passed the Senate. To pass the House, it just needs 50 Democratic Senators to agree to a reconcilliation fix. How does *Gregg* get you to 50 Deocratic Senators?

How does Gregg do that without killing it off in the House? Does anyone think that Progressives who won't pass the current Senate bill would pass a Gregg Bill?

WTF is the White House thinking?

Honestly... we're rapidly reaching the point where it would be better for progressives if McCain had won. We'd have the same two wars that Obama is stringing along. Same Gitmo, same detention policies, same torture, same lack of prosecutions. We probably would have the same stimulous, since it's unlikely that McCain and the GOP would have wanted the economy to tank on a GOP Presidents watch (people tend to forget that we *did* have a Stimulous in 2008 under Bush).

We'd probably have the same healthcare: RomneyCare. Lord knows we might have immigration reform. It's entirely possible that once president, McCain might actually have done something on Don't Ask, Don't Tell if the Pentagon suggested it to him.

Yes, we'd have no chance at Global Warming, and nice fat giveaways to the Banksters with no Banking reform. Hey... we got that anyway!

Yes, there are some good things that the Obama Admin has done. But this past year has been loathsome for progressives, with much of it directed at our own crappy party as were forced to face that it's every bit as corrupt as the GOP, and damn near as stupid. It would be vastly easier if we could simply direct it at a McCain Administration like we did with a Bush Admin, and still have delusional hope that only if we got enough members of Congress and a President that everything could be made better.


Posted by: toshiaki | February 11, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, send toshiaki some flowers. I think the winter weather is getting to him.

We don't have the same torture, we wouldn't have the same stimulus (it would have been mostly tax cuts), we would not have been talking about health care reform at all, etc. Don't buy the FDL talking points.

The country isn't full of progressives--it's full of progressives, moderates, conservatives, libertarians, nut-jobs, painfully uninformed people, amazingly smart people with good ideas that can't get passed, and a host of other groups. It's been a tough year for progressives but that's because in order to get anything done, you have to appeal to the middle, not just the wings.

Posted by: StokeyWan | February 11, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

There's a faulty premise in your post, Ezra, that the Dem. Reps and Senators are rational people who live in a factually based reality. Mostly they are revealing themselves to be cringing wimps who run and hide at the slightest hint of adversity. They live in a purgatory of fear. They stand in their own shadow and wonder why it's dark.They spit on their own base and wonder why they get no respect or trust.

Posted by: cmpnwtr | February 11, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

In case you haven't noticed, at least 50 House Democrats represent conservative districts, and many of them ran on the premise of being more conservative than their Republican rival.

With the death of John Murtha, Pelosi no longer has 218 of the original votes needed to pass another bill. Just getting back to 218 will require winning over Representatives who voted no last time. In the meantime, the bill has gotten more liberal on abortion, it's more expensive, the accounting is more fraudulent, and the public option is gone. Also in the meantime, the bill has grown less popular, Republicans have moved up in the generic poll, and the bluest seat in the Seanate has turned Brown.

You should definitely expend a lot of energy on getting this passed. It keeps you from doing damage anywhere else, and you're unlikely to accomplish anything.

Posted by: cpurick | February 11, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Is this true?

From the link you provided:

"He (Gregg) brings a record of bipartisan deal making and good personal ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)."

I've only been observing politics for the past year, but have seen no evidence of "bipartisan deal making" from Gregg (or any Repub, for that matter).

Posted by: onewing1 | February 11, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

cmpnwtr gets my vote for comment of the day!

Posted by: goadri | February 11, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Today's most interesting development on the health-care front is David Rogers' story on Judd Gregg's letter to the White House yesterday and an interview with Gregg on his willingness to consider a bipartisan approach.

I am unsure, as everyone probably is, whether Gregg is someone who is genuinely interested in helping the White House develop a bipartisan bill, but the fact he is retiring this year and not seeking reelection means he could be looking at things from a problem-solving, policy-oriented, national interest perspective rather than a narrowly political perspective as Mitch McConnell would be.

While a conservative, especially on fiscal matters, Gregg has throughout his career been willing to work across the aisle and been moderate in his approach to legislation on issues like health care though his "how to kill the bill" memo last year undoubtedly poisoned the waters a bit. Gregg has actually always been more of a traditional Republican conservative primarily focused on balanced budgets, trimming waste, and making sure government becomes more efficient and effective than he is a Reagan/Bush tax-cutting type which might make him easier than most Republicans for Democrats to work with.

Gregg seems like the ideal type of appointee for the President's Fiscal Commission. In fact, it would make sense for Obama to appoint four retiring Senators to that Commission----Dorgan and Dodd from the Democratic side, and Gregg and Voinovich from the Republican side. All these guys are likely to be more focused on their place in history than on short-term political gain.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Independents will drop to single digits if the Democrats move on the existing bills. They've already dropped 12 points since August. It's going to be impossible to win without the respect (let alone the trust and support) of independents.

Posted by: cprferry | February 11, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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