Posted by: Chris | January 21, 2010

Your Daily Dose of Manzi

A fairly level-headed take on the Massachusetts vote and an interesting (and incredibly cursory) look at relative pre-presidential experiences from last August.

I also liked this comment from “andrew” (transparently not our Andrew) from the comments:

The House barely passed it’s version of a bill – everyone has forgotten this already, and there’s all this talk about 59 Senators representing the vast majority of the population being foiled by a minority, but representation in the House is proportional to population and even there the bill was barely squeaking by. Instead of celebrating victory, the Dems should have seen warning lights flashing;

Ben Nelson, Lieberman, Landrieu and others among the 60 only got there through bribery and arm-twisting. They caused negotiations to drag on for months, giving more time for public opinion to shift and for other surprise events to occur;

Robert Byrd could have become incapacitated any day;

There wouldn’t have been 60 in the first place if Specter hadn’t switched parties. Note that that was in April – recall that as of the ’08 election, the public had not in fact given Dems 60 seats in the Senate. The Franken win was by a hair, too;

Kennedy’s seat should never have been presumed to be a lock – and Kennedy should have retired rather than hanging on – he could have campaigned for his replacement;

There was no guarantee of a conference agreement between the Senate and the House even if Coakley won. People acted like it was a done deal, but it wasn’t – as can be seen from how quickly the House has dismissed the idea of passing the Senate’s version;

If nothing else, I wish people would stop trying to argue that a small number of voters in Mass have just ruined everything for the country. There’s a Senate bill on the table for the House to consider. If it can’t get 218 votes there, then there is no reason to assume the will of the American people is somehow being thwarted.

The Dems need to scale back and find something that can get the support of 50 Senate Ds and 10 Rs or 40 and 20 – and something that doesn’t scrape by in the house by just a couple of votes. I’d suggest focusing on portability and pre-existing conditions first. Then look at vouchers or tax credits to address affordability.





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