AP reports: “Democratic congressional leaders confronted the reality Tuesday that they may not be able to pass the comprehensive health care overhaul sought by President Barack Obama. Republican leaders prepared to do everything in their power to make sure they can’t.” It seems that unlike Nancy Pelosi and the president, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer — who just might be the minority leader after 2010, forced to clean up the pieces of his smashed Democratic caucus — is hinting that this may be the end of the road:
“We may not be able to do all. I hope we can do all, a comprehensive piece of legislation that will provide affordable, accessible, quality health care to all Americans,” Hoyer said at his weekly media briefing. “But having said that, if we can’t, then you know me — if you can’t do a whole, doing part is also good. I mean there are a number of things I think we can agree on.”
It sounds like he’s been reading the polls, which still show the public overwhelmingly opposed to ObamaCare II – because it’s so much like ObamaCare I. The voters want Obama to start over, but he wants to ram home the essentially same monstrosity the public has already rejected. But the immediate concern for Obama and Pelosi is the eroding support among House Democrats:
Some rank-and-file Democrats were openly skeptical that the White House and congressional leaders could pull it off. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., a moderate who opposed the health legislation when it passed the House, questioned whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi could hang on to the votes that allowed her to get the bill through 220-215 in November. Since then a couple of Democrats have left the House, and Pelosi may also lose votes from anti-abortion Democrats who oppose the less restrictive abortion language in the Senate bill, which Obama kept in his plan.
“Is she going to be able to hold everybody that was for it before?” Altmire asked. “What about the marginal members in the middle who got hammered over this vote and would love a second chance to perhaps go against it?”
Well, let’s see if a health-care summit will magically change the hearts and minds of voters and House Democrats. If not, Obama will learn the hard way that it matters what you are proposing, not how many times you propose it.