For the benefit of any hypothetical researcher from, say, the 2050s or so - hey, how are you folks doing, up there? Have the Cubs won a World Series yet? - let me just note the two major mistakes that the current administration made that seem to have seriously complicated the passage of their health care rationing bill.
- Choosing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's approach on the 'stimulus' over that of Rep Walter Minnick's;
- Allowing Speaker Pelosi to replace John Dingell on Energy with Henry Waxman.
Pelosi over Minnick. Imagine, for a moment, that the Democrats had passed Minnick's alternative:
His START plan is a $170 billion “bare bones” pure stimulus approach that would put $100 billion immediately into the pockets of low- and middle-income Americans, then use the other $70 billion for basic infrastructure projects that create jobs. START requires that all funds not spent by 2010 be returned to the Treasury. START also stops stimulus spending when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product increases in two of three previous quarters, and all START payments are required to be posted on a public website.
...instead of the near-trillion dollar mess that didn't even work. It would have gotten Republican votes both in the House and the Senate; enough votes to give the President some 'bipartisan' cover that he turned out to need, badly. That, coupled with the lack of what turned out to be an intolerable provocation to fiscal conservatives, would have probably kept the Tea Party movement from reaching the breakout point. Instead, the President allowed the House to run amok, with the result that the administration pretty much created its own organized, activist opposition*. Impressive, in its way - but not really the White House's goal.
Waxman over Dingell. This one is simpler. No Waxman as Energy chair means no Waxman/Markey cap-and-trade bill in its current form. No cap-and-trade bill in its current form means no outrage in the House to further infuriate fiscal conservatives; and no desperate burial in the Senate to give them hope. Dingell is old, and steeped in Congressional sin; he would have known how to craft a bill that would have seduced Republicans, or at least tempted them. Waxman only knows how to provoke his enemies - and he picked just the right time to do it, too. End result: the folks that got mad enough about ballooning deficits (and the raised taxes that will follow to pay for them) to go out and protest got madder still over the idea that energy poverty for the poor is a viable domestic strategy.
Which is partially why they're all out in force protesting health care rationing, too: these past transgressions have had an effect on the way people are perceiving the current government, and not in a good way. Simply put, the protesters don't really trust the people running things to run things properly. And, thanks to Congressional 'leadership,' it's now abundantly clear that the people running things are all Democrats.
The White House keeps treating this as a failure to communicate; what it is is actually a failure to lead. Which is not something that you can repair with an email list.
*And it is activist: someone (I forget who) recently noted that conservatives have gone from sneering about Alinksy to reading him.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.