The Coakley loss was not surprising and there's blame aplenty to go around for what Josh Marshal has aptly termed an unforced error. This election was the Dems' to lose, and they lost it. Par for the course, depressingly. But seeing any prospect for health care reform now falling apart is shocking.So far I count Anthony Weiner, Jerrold Nadler, Evan Bayh, Jim Webb, and Barney Frank (!!!!) all coming out against getting this legislation through reconciliation by passing the Senate bill wholesale. Some folks (like Bayh) never wanted it in the first place. And I understand why progressives like Nadler or Weiner prefer the House bill to the watered down Senate bill, but they can't seriously believe that thery're going to get another shot at this. There will not be another, more progressive bill later on: there will be either an even more compromised bill or, more likely, nothing at all. I don't think the Senate bill is even close to what it should have been, but for goodness sake, it's better than nothing.
And Barney Frank's role in this is extrodinarily disheartening. Here's his statement post-Brown-victory statement which Rachel Maddow read tonight:
"I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform. Because I do not think that the country would be well served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the senate rule which means that 59 are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process."
He says, "I am hopeful some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform"...?!?! Name one. That's an insult to the intelligence of everyone who has supported you.
As to this: "But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened," your party still has solid majorities in both houses. The election results in Massachusets (which, by the way, has something very like the bill you're are ready to throw out) is not a referendum on national policies, no matter how much idiotic pundits like to say it. Josh Marshall again, hits the nail on the head: "[the] statement he put out tonight that is just an embodiment of fecklessness, resignation, defeatism and just plan (sic) folly." I'm happy that Frank doesn't like the filibuster, but it's not going anywhere anytime soon, so either dems work within those constraints, or they accomplish nothing. Those are the options on the table.
Voters are amivalent about HCR, but I can gurantee these idiots that throwing in the towl like this will win them no votes. Not one.
Update: a couple of constituents were able to talk to Bareny Frank personally, and he layed out his reasoning to them in greater detail. He may or may not be correct that the votes for this just aren't there in the House (himself included), but I totally disagree with his assessment about the likely outcome of November elections if HCR fails: it will be a disaster. And while I don't like the Senate bill any more than he does, it really is better than nothing, not just politically, but in the lives it will save.