"President Obama is still the most popular political figure in Washington, and enjoys more support than either political party and either congressional delegation.Right now it doesn't look like the federal government works any more. At the same time, the problems facing America - including the health care insurance crisis - are building up and in the great Neo-Hoover non-action and incompetence tradition of the Republican Bush administration are not being addressed.
For Republicans, this creates a strong incentive to block any and all progress -- the more they can destroy American politics, the more the president appears ineffective. Undermining Obama's presidency improves their chances of winning additional power.
For Democrats, this should create the opposite incentive -- the more successful Obama is, the better off they'll be. The more they argue amongst themselves, or delay (or deliberately kill) key parts of the party's agenda, the more they drag Obama's support down.
Dems' success is inextricably tied to Obama's standing. As Ezra noted last week, this should point Democratic lawmakers in the right direction on health care, though the message isn't getting through.If health-care reform dies, the media will try and explain the Democrats' failure. That means they'll spend a lot of time talking about what Obama has done wrong. If Democrats had simply refused to freak out and moved quickly to pass the Senate bill, there would be endless stories on what Obama did right, and how the Democrats finally passed this longtime priority.
Even putting aside all the moral arguments for passing this bill -- all the lives and homes it will save -- a crassly political calculation should have left Democrats rushing towards passage."
The trouble is, the Democrats are an undisciplined and selfish lot who would rather squabble and run to give interviews to the media (to demonstrate how important each of the leakers is) than actually get any legislation accomplished. They are in their little Washington D.C. bubble where their status is determined by how many times they appear on the TV talk shows rather than what legislation they join the herd to vote for and pass.
Out here in the hinterlands the politicians really don't matter, but the legislation does. It's too late now to make any changes in the bill that is the only possible one to pass both houses - the Senate bill. So it's time.