Speaker Pelosi's zero point zero House vote margin has eroded further during the week after the Red Tide flooded Central and Eastern Massachusetts.
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D - OH) said: “The senate bill is so totally flawed that I don’t think it can get the votes in the House to pass. I certainly wouldn’t vote for it.” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said he will not vote for the Senate bill. Rep. Stupak says he has 10 to 12 yes votes who would be no votes, if Senator Nelson's abortion funding language he got in return for the Nebraska Medicaid Kickback is in the bill. And the National Organization of Women publicly stated that they think no health care bill is better than either the House or the Senate bill.
The likelihood of Democrats who voted NO changing their votes to yes, after Massachusetts, is zero.
And as The Huffingon Post reported yesterday:
"If you look at the actual vote in the House, we had 220 [votes for health care]. And you look at the Republican vote [Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana]. He's no longer on board. And [former] Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Florida) is gone. So we are now at 218. We have no margin for error..."
It has all, very publicly, very embarrassingly turned to dust. The Speaker cannot get 218 votes. Full stop.
Now, a group of two dozen or so Dems Representatives are pushing the Speaker to break the health care bills up into smaller pieces and pass three smaller bills.
In the Senate, the effort to circulate a letter with 51 signatures from Senators pledging to vote for a reconciliation bill failed -- they could not get the signatures. Essentially, the Dem Senators said, if we wanted to pass a bill that was different than the one we did pass, we would have -- which is to say: Why would the Senate pass another bill to change their bill, just to accept the things they already rejected that the House says they need? The Senate Dems just told the House, we passed the bill we wanted to pass. That's it.
Got that? Good.
Bloomberg News had a great couple of paragraphs that perfectly describe the reality meets dreams moment for Senator Harkin (D-IA):
“No one knows what to do,” Harkin said in a Jan. 22 interview. Lawmakers need a “breather” that would “let everyone calm down, get that panic out of their bodies" after Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the race to fill the seat held for almost half a century by the late Ted Kennedy.
Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who heads the chamber’s health committee, said Democrats would let the legislation “sit for a while” and then take it up “in a week or so.” Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who helped shepherd the bill through the Senate, said the break might last as long as six weeks.
The Democratic effort to pass health care reform could not get any more pathetic. The pass-reform-at-any-cost crowd (David Axelrod, the Speaker and the President) have been reduced to spinning highly unlikely and fundamentally politically unsound triple bank-shots to try and even make another attempt at health care reform -- when they know they do not have the votes. An eager media laps it up with no sense of reality or understanding of what health care politics really is to the Democrats: plutonium.
One Dem Representative who gets it warned the White House a year ago not to take them over the same cliff they went over in 1994. The Blue Dogs were told by the President, "Well, the difference with 1994 and now is that you have me."
Looking back, the White House and the Speaker took a winning health care hand and squandered it by their moral crusade. Crusaders ignore reality, which the Dem leaders did every day of the health care fight.
They ignored the political cross-pressures until they grew and killed their bill. And the lethality (efficacy for health care wonks) of the health care fallout is directly related to the intensity that the President and Speaker pushed back for months and months against rational calls to stop, slow down, back off or change. The public pressure built, and built and built -- while the Speaker and the President blithely ignored everyone and every event telling them to stop, even if it was a Democrat telling them or acknowledged expert like Charlie Cook.
So, the Great Health Care Crusade of 2010 ends with the Crusader's army defeated in detail. Dazed and whining, they are crying the equivalent of Rome's great cry "GIVE ME BACK MY LEGIONS!"
Where are the Dems' Legions? Squandered by self-deception. Rome, when it lost its legions, were deceived by the Germans. The Dem leadership, however, deceived themselves, blinded by their arrogance and attitude of moral superiority.
Now Senator Reid will not return to the Senate and the President is mortally weakened. But the Speaker is still pushing the Crusade -- telling the world: we must pass a health bill.
The Speaker is dangerous to the health and welfare of her party, and should step aside by taking responsibility for the firestorm that is consuming her party and consuming the members of her caucus.
Will any Dem will pay for the incompetence of the health care debacle of 2010, and what they have put the country through for the last year?
Failure on the part of the Dems punishing their own will result in the public taking great relish in doing it for them.
The Dems have been telling the public to go pound sand on their views on health care reform for a year now, and the public just cannot wait to return the favor, just as they have done in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.