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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The House Vote: Lux’s Cheers and Sneers

Mike Lux has a HuffPo post on the House health care reform vote which provides some illuminating observations about the struggle to unify Democrats in support of the measure, including this tribute to Speaker Pelosi’s leadership:

Nancy Pelosi deserves enormous credit for finding a way to get this done. Like all progressives, I am deeply unhappy with the abortion language that was allowed to be voted into this bill. That language is unacceptable and has to be changed in conference committee. But I was looking at the vote count on Friday night too, and we really were done unless that vote was allowed. There were literally no good choices at that moment, because to let the bill fail or pull the bill from being voted on would have caused everything to get unraveled. We still have a very good chance at stripping this terribly restrictive anti-abortion language in conference committee, and need to keep fighting to do that.
On the final vote, the whipping process was intense and impressive. Democratic leaders I have known in the past have rarely played this kind of hardball, but some kneecaps were broken Saturday night to get these votes, and the Speaker did a masterful job of doing every little thing that needed to be done. She gave no passes to people, and she was very clear there would have been consequences to all who voted no. She got the job done.

After giving due credit to the leadership, Lux has a scold for both the single-payer and Blue Dog purists:

On the other hand, there are some Democrats I am appalled by. As a 30-year supporter of single-payer, and with full knowledge of the imperfections in this bill, I am angry that single-payer supporters Kucinich and Massa were happy to let any hope of health care reform for a generation die because the bill wasn’t everything we hoped it would be. To let another generation go by where tens of thousands of people die every year from being under-insured, and have the insurance companies continue to be allowed to screw people over preexisting conditions, lifetime caps, and recessions is just wrong.
Then there is the large collection of Blue Dogs who care nothing about the President or the Democratic Party’s top priority, let alone all those people without insurance. After all that Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi did for these reps in the 2006 and 2008 elections, all the money and time and staff and consultant help they gave them, for those Blue Dogs to walk away on the biggest issue, when they were needed the most, is a sign of their selfishness…They are also dumb about their own political fate: if Democrats don’t deliver, Democratic base voters will walk away in massive numbers, and it will be the people in marginal districts that will suffer the most.

Lux names and thanks the conservative Dem House Reps who supported the party on this crucial vote and looks to the future with confidence that Dems will soon pass a transformational health care reform bill, “making history when we do.”

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