What’s baffling to me about the collective health care freakout happening on the Hill right now is that House Democrats don’t quite seem to be grasping the implications of the fact that they already voted for health reform back in November. Whether or not Massachusetts increases your perception of the political threat level a little or a lot, the essence of the matter is that there’s no increase in the threat level that comes from voting “yes” a second time.
Let’s put it this way, if I want to run an ad saying “Representative X votes for hundreds of billions of dollars of tax hikes and Medicare cuts” I am being 100 percent honest. If Barack Obama signs a health care bill into law, then Representative X can at least talk about the tough new regulations on insurers that his opponent opposed. He can talk about the end of medical bankruptcies. He can talk about reducing the deficit. He can talk about lots of stuff. Will he take a hit? Sure. But he’ll also be able to hit back.
And of course if health care dies, the instant CW becomes that health care was too left-wing. That America hates those lefty left-wingers who voted for it. Lefty left-wingers just like Representative X. If you pass the bill, you can try to make the case for it. If you don’t pass the bill, you’ve made your opponent’s case for you. Which might not be so bad except you already voted for the bill. Once you vote for something, you’ve got to try to pass it.
Omar says that if you come at the king, you’d best not miss. They’re wise words. Otherwise people are going to spend the fall talking about how they actually voted for health reform before they voted against it.