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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Rove on 2010

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The Architect is not optimistic about the GOP’s chances of retaking the House, but Blanche Lincoln, Michael Bennet, Arlen Specter, Beau Biden and Chris Dodd should be very worried.

And has raised more than $112K in a week. When the debate over the Democrats plan to make massive cuts to Medicare and introduce rationing into America, I expect contributions to resume at this brisk pace. If Congressional Democrats insist on attempting to jam through this deeply unpopular and wholly ineffective takeover of American medicine, I think Karl will have to revise his tote board.

Senator Lieberman may yet save the Democrats from going over the cliff, however, as his opposition to any sort of public option or trigger is explicit. From the Wall Street Journal:

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, speaking in that trademark sonorous baritone, utters a simple statement that translates into real trouble for Democratic leaders: “I’m going to be stubborn on this.”

Stubborn, he means, in opposing any health-care overhaul that includes a “public option,” or government-run health-insurance plan, as the current bill does. His opposition is strong enough that Mr. Lieberman says he won’t vote to let a bill come to a final vote if a public option is included.

Probe for a catch or caveat in that opposition, and none is visible. Can he support a public option if states could opt out of the plan, as the current bill provides? “The answer is no,” he says in an interview from his Senate office. “I feel very strongly about this.” How about a trigger, a mechanism for including a public option along with a provision saying it won’t be used unless private insurance plans aren’t spreading coverage far and fast enough? No again.

So any version of a public option will compel Mr. Lieberman to vote against bringing a bill to a final vote? “Correct,” he says.

This makes Lieberman a genuine moderate Democrat, and hopefully Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan will join with him to block the destruction of American medicine and the crippling of American fiscal policy.

The always-amusing Jonathan Chait is urging the Democrats over the cliff however: “[A] clear majority of Americans say that they want the Democrats to pass a health care bill with a public option, even if this means it would get no GOP votes.” Jonathan doesn’t link to his data set though of course you can find a poll somewhere that asks just that question, unlinked to costs and divorced from the massive Medicare cuts, and gets that answer. But if Chait really believes that, he should have his pundit card revoked.

What he really believes in all likelihood is that the Democrats should push through the public option despite the obvious risk to many House and Senate members. Chait and like-minded lefties want a win over the damned GOP, and they worry about President Obama’s re-election in 2012 which they fear will be more compromised by a loss on health care than by the passage of failure spread across two thousand pages. Chait of course is riskingnothing, not even his scribbler’s salary, because his job will endure for as long as The New Republic can keep a few high minded donors in the game.

Not so Democratic representatives and senators. If they are put to flight in 49 weeks by the army of walkers, no one is going to subsidize their electric bill and mortgage. Nor do they want to live on a writer’s salary or join the lobbyists’s scrum, especially if they have just a couple or four years in the House on which to hang their Beltway access credibility.

As the Obamacare debate moves into the end game, Democrats cannot afford to lose one senator or three House members. Chait urges them all on, regardless of risk. But the real polls tell a different story. As Rove put it yesterday (transcript here):

I remind you that the first time the Republicans in the 1994 election cycle took a lead in the generic ballot was in March of 1994, when they took a one point lead in the generic ballot. Well, about ten days ago, the Republicans took the lead in the generic ballot for next year’s election by a four point margin, 48-44. And the turnaround came in basically nine months. And I don’t see anything in the future that’s going to make people feel better. I mean, the Democrats, particularly the Obama White House, have deluded themselves into thinking that the problem that they had in ’93 and ’94 was not trying to pass a bad bill, but failing to pass a bill. So they’re sitting there saying all right, people may think this is bad, but once we deliver the gigantic tax increases on medical devices and pharmaceutical companies, and the huge cuts in Medicare, and a federal takeover of health care, and a government run insurance plan that craters the private insurance market, well, they’ll love us when we do that. And that kind of mindset only gets you into difficulty.


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