The Wall Street Journal’s always on-target Gerald Seib spells out the choice facing Democrats now that the public option is dead and the Medicare expansion buried with it:
The fate of pending U.S. health-care legislation — and its political impact next year — likely hangs on one simple question: Will Democrats conclude they are better off passing a highly controversial bill than passing nothing at all?
Most likely, the answer to that question is yes.
At this stage in the sausage-making process that is writing legislation, nobody is under the illusion he or she is working on anything like the perfect health bill, or one that is growing in popularity. A series of recent polls shows the opposite — that support is eroding the longer the bill hangs in the balance.
Which presents Democrats, broadly speaking, with a gut-level decision: to push across the finish line, or, alternately, to take advantage of multiple opportunities that will be made available in the next two weeks to pull the plug instead.
Be sure to read the whole thing, but Seib is betting that the Dems press on for their crippled vision, thereby crippling Medicare in the process, because “most Democratic leaders have concluded that, as a political matter, something beats nothing.”
Perhaps, but as the evidence grows that this bill is a disaster for the nation’s elderly –see the report of the Office of the Actuary which most of the MSM is studiously ignoring– folks like Senator James Webb who were elected because of a deep commitment to fixing politics are being asked to brand themselves forever as the decisive vote for this mess. If Webb –or Ben Nelson, or Blanche Lincoln or Evan Bayh or Joe Lieberman– vote for cloture, they are voting to devastate the lives of millions of senior citizens by carving a half trillion out of Medicare. And they will be doing that for the false vision of cost control and an admittedly imperfect extension of coverage to far less than the universe of those without coverage today?
Given the savaging that Joe Lieberman took yesterday and all weekend long for his stand against the insane attempt to open the already functionally insolvent Medicare to millions more enrollees at 55 and older, it would take require enormous courage for one or more Democrats to say “no” at this point, and “back to the drawing board.”
But this is the sort of society-changing vote that might just cause one or more of these four senators to do just that. The switchboard is 202-224-3121. Call Senators Webb of Virginia, Lincoln of Arkansas, Nelson of Nebraska, and Bayh of Indiana and urge a “no” vote on cloture.
Then go to the box on the right marked “Free Our health Care” and hit the “Take Further Action” button to register your opinion with your home state senators and congressman.
Finally, start preparing the ground for the battle in the House if the Senate does move this mess forward. The only way to peel away votes from Nancy Pelosi’s machine will be to signal certain political defeat for House Democrats on the bubble. The best way to do that is with a donation to ReverseTheVote.org which is targeting 24 Democrats who voted for Obamacare on the last go-around. If a handful of these can be turned, Obamacare can be stopped in the House. Please send a message to these two dozen Dems with a generous contribution and then urge your friends to do the same.