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The politics of passing health care reform are exactly opposite in the Democratic controlled U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
1) In the House, Speaker Pelosi, staying true to her San Francisco Democratic roots will not pass health reform without a public option — and she has a recent letter signed by 83 of her Dem House colleagues from the Progressive Caucus, telling the President that a health bill “without a robust public option will not achieve the health reform this country so desperately needs. We cannot vote for anything less.”
2) In the Senate under normal Senate rules, a bill with a public option will not pass.
As it stands now it appears the White House is betting they can roll the Speaker, and the 83 Members of Congress who signed the letter cited above. When I say as it stands now, the repeated flips and flops by the White House and President Obama on this issue have kept both sides hoping they can cause another flip. And MoveOn has now targeted the White House with phone calls.
President Obama’s weapon of choice to convince the Members of Congress that it is OK to be rolled, and convince them they should act against their own political interest — is his own speech, his words — yet another health care speech, by him.
But the constant speechifying by the President on health care reform has not improved his approval rating slide, it keeps sliding. Zogby, in a poll of more than 4,500 likely voters, found President Obama’s approval rating at a record low of 42%.
All major Committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate that have voted on ObamaCare have given the Republicans the straight-arm (clothesline for those football fans) and all while President Obama has been proclaiming his desire to reach out to Republicans. What this history has meant is that there is no chance the Republicans will save Obama’s bacon. Especially since there were some Republicans at the start of this process who actually believed the President when he said he wants to reach out to Republicans. Some Republicans tried to work with the Democrats crafting the bill and were told we don’t want your help, we don’t need your help and we hate your ideas for our bill.
So, there will be no Republicans to rescue ObamaCare, unless it is changed radically, and Republicans can actually have some input that is not watered down and not changed or gutted by the left.
But, there are more and as-serious fractures in the Democratic Party with regard to the ObamaCare plan details — which in turn decides where the votes are like abortion and cutting half a trillion dollars from Medicare.
Essentially, the President’s list of hard-core political problems that the ObamaCare plan has created is growing more malignant.
The President’s approval rating is dropping, Congress’s approval rating is dropping and members of Congress are being warned by Charlie Cook they should be “terrified” of the big wave elections signs showing up right now.
Given the above, how likely is it that President Obama’s speech before a Joint Session of Congress will save him?
Ultimately, the political logic that President Obama is urging Members of Congress to act on, is illogical:
I AM ASKING YOU TO DO THE VERY THING THAT IS CAUSING MY POLL NUMBERS, AND YOUR POLL NUMBERS TO DROP. IF YOU IGNORE THE POLLS AND PASS OBAMACARE, THINGS WILL BE BETTER THAN IF YOU DO WHAT YOUR VOTERS WANT.
Is that like, we have to spend $1 trillion to save money? Or, ObamaCare will not increase the deficit?
IF YOU DO WHAT THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN TELLING YOU NOT TO DO, AND PASS OBAMACARE, YOUR POLL NUMBERS WILL GO UP! REALLY, I PROMISE.
Here is an idea: the entire Congress should check out the book Groupthink from the Library of Congress. Or, order it from Amazon.
Here is the meaning of the word Groupthink, for the uninitiated:
Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance. The term is frequently used pejoratively, with hindsight.
Here is a one sentence definition by Irving Janis
A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members’ strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.
There are plenty of words that could be used besides Groupthink. I think everyone has their own favorite one or two of those words.
What will the Left’s reaction be to the most publicly announced intent to roll them? Here is one response from the left: