Congressional Democrats are still grasping for a way forward on the Obamacare plan that the country well and truly hates. To press on via legislative tricks and intemperate tantrums is pure political insanity, the sort of contemptuous high-handedness that could indeed risk every senate seat the Democrats must defend in nine months and scores of House seats as well.
Many Democrats on the left have never had to contemplate such a situation before. They weren’t around in 1993, and don’t believe the pendulum can swing against them with as much speed and decisiveness as it swung against the GOP in 2006 and 2008. In this new media world, though, information flows have accelerated and with them the potential for massive and quick changes in voting patterns. That was a theoretical proposition until Tuesday, but now it is an accomplished fact.
Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer must both face the voters in the blink of a political eye. Mike Pence is being urged to challenge Evan Bayh. Scores of House Democrats are talking to their spouses about what it would mean to be unemployed in a year. The netroots won’t be sending them mortgage payments if Pelosi et al leads them over a cliff.
The president, Rahm, Axelrod, and all the senior House members know there is a life to be led and a living to be made after politics. But what about the 24 Dems targeted by ReverseTheVote.org? What about Kirsten Gillibrand? Are they really going to line up lockstep behind Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and pretend that reconciliation is what the voters were demanding in Massachusetts?
President Obama’s petulance and fresh attacks on banks managed to sink markets today, and his advisors have to be wondering about the political consequences of waging populist war on a fragile market. If they believe the way forward is an even more aggressive attack on democratic capitalism, his approval ratings will continue to plummet and the residual goodwill he retains will vanish.
Perhaps when those advisors and the Congressional Democrats spend a weekend pondering the choice ahead, the obvious will finally appear to them: A large majority of the American people have rejected Obamacare. A. Large. Majority.
With that recognition may come a State of the Union that opens with a realistic assessment of the people’s will and a nod towards the occupant of the people’s seat. Followed by some discussion of how to move forward –for the first time– towards a genuine bipartisanship that the president campaigned on.
We can always hope for change, right?