This is from Hotline, not the Onion: “House Dems will spend the Pres. Day recess marking the one-year anniversary of the $787B stimulus act, embracing a bill that has them in some political hot water.” Perhaps Nancy Pelosi has a wry sense of humor. She’s sent a memo to her fellow Democrats telling them to pull out all the stops: “Pelosi’s memo offers suggestions for events highlighting the stimulus’s impact, talking points issued by VP Biden’s office and information on jobs, small business benefits and infrastructure projects by district.” Then again, she might be completely out to lunch.
It seems impossible that Pelosi would still imagine that the stimulus bill is a winning issue. After all the polling showing the overwhelming majority of voters dubious about the merits of the bill and the unemployment rate well in excess of 8 percent, which the Obami promised would be the ceiling for unemployment if we only spent another $787B we didn’t have to begin with, how can she send her troops out to tout this much derided non-accomplishment?
Well, let’s face it: the Democrats haven’t done anything else. It’s not as if the Lilly Ledbetter law is going to get the crowds on their feet. It’s not as if House Democrats can brag of having walked the plank on cap-and-trade only to have it stall in the Senate. The stimulus bill is all they have, you see.
In that respect the liberal bloggers and the double-down-on-ObamaCare contingent have a point: without some other significant accomplishment, the Democrats will have a measly record to run on in November. Passing a monstrous health-care bill that everyone hates may not be the solution, of course. The opposition is riled up enough and independents are wary enough of the Democrats’ big-government power grabs.
However, the need to have some accomplishment on which to campaign does suggest that the Democrats would be wise to come up with a popular version of health-care reform, along the lines which the Republicans have been touting. Jeffrey Anderson suggests: “The president would stand a better chance of success if he could bring himself to consider sensible, targeted solutions designed to achieve incremental but tangible gains.” Changing the tax treatment of individually purchased insurance plans and “ending runaway malpractice lawsuits, allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines, and allowing companies to offer lower premiums for healthier lifestyles” are a few measures that would likely gain bipartisan support and give the Democrats something real to crow about.
But the Democrats are locked into an all-or-nothing approach to health care, at least for now. Maybe it will require some of Pelosi’s members getting hooted down in derision back home before the the Democrats realize they can’t win on a failed stimulus plan and a scary, unpassed health-care bill.