Democrats can stop hoping at this point.
I can see no alternative scenario but a huge - staggeringly huge - victory for the FNC/RNC machine tomorrow. They crafted a strategy of total oppositionism to anything Obama proposed a year ago. Remember they gave him zero votes on even the stimulus in his first weeks. They saw health insurance reform as Obama's Waterloo, and, thanks in part to the dithering Democrats, they beat him on that hill. They have successfully channeled all the rage at the massive debt and recession the president inherited on Obama after just one year. If they can do that already, against the massive evidence against them, they have the power to wield populism to destroy any attempt by government to address any actual problems.
This is a nihilist moment, built from a nihilist strategy in order to regain power ... to do nothing but wage war against enemies at home and abroad.
What comes next will be a real test for Obama. I suspect serious health insurance reform is over for yet another generation.
Even if Coakley wins - and my guess is she'll lose by a double digit margin - the bill is dead. The most Obama can hope for is a minimalist alternative that simply mandates that insurance companies accept people with pre-existing conditions and are barred from ejecting patients when they feel like it. That's all he can get now - and even that will be a stretch. The uninsured will even probably vote Republican next time in protest at Obama's failure! That's how blind the rage is.
Ditto any attempt to grapple with climate change. In fact, any legislative moves with this Democratic party and this Republican party are close to hopeless. The Democrats are a clapped out, gut-free lobbyist machine. The Republicans are insane. The system is therefore paralyzed beyond repair.
Yes, I'm gloomy. Not because I was so wedded to this bill, although I think it's a decent enough start. But because if America cannot grapple with its deep and real problems after electing a new president with two majorities, then America's problems are too great for Americans to tackle.
And so one suspects that this is a profound moment in the now accelerating decline of this country. And one of the major parties is ecstatic about it.
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