Elections Matter

For all the tough political talk, there is a certain reality that sinks in after a historic loss for a political party. The spin the day before the race no longer seems sustainable, and the members can no longer repeat the same talking points. Elections matter. And the one last night really did. Politico reports:

Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts Tuesday threatened to derail any hopes of passing a health reform bill this year, as the White House and Democratic leaders faced growing resistance from rank-and-file members to pressing ahead with a bill following the Bay State backlash.

Sure the White House political team is keeping up pretenses, but lawmakers are a different story. They’re on the ballot this year and have no desire to be the next victim of ObamaCare. So it shouldn’t be surprising that “several House members said Tuesday night that they had no interest in pursuing the most likely scenario for moving ahead with a bill — approving the already-passed Senate version of health reform in the House — and some said President Barack Obama should step back and start over.” The leaders suddenly find fewer to lead:

In fact, early signs of split emerged as the polls closed in Massachusetts — between leaders like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer who said “the Senate bill is better than nothing,” and individual members who didn’t want to swallow the Senate’s version of health reform whole.

The risk for the White House is to see itself isolated and criticized by Democrats. Rahm Emanuel matters less than Evan Bayh and Bart Stupak. The latter are essential to passage of any health-care measure. And frankly, Obama matters less today than he did yesterday. His political coattails are nonexistent, and his agenda is toxic. When he implores congressmen to follow his lead, why should they listen?

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Elections Matter

Must-Reads from Magazine

Partisanship Masquerading as Wisdom

Anger over health care clouds the left's judgment.

Nate Silver spoke for most of the liberal blogosphere when he objected to the mainstream media’s coverage of Senator John McCain’s speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

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A Familiar Paranoia

Donald Trump sees disloyalty even in his closest supporters.

In a performance that would have shocked sensibilities if they weren’t already flogged to the point of numbness, President Trump delivered a nostalgic, campaign-style stem-winder on Monday to a troop of boy scouts. The commander-in-chief meandered between crippling self-pity and gauche triumphalism; he moaned about his treatment by the “fake media,” praised himself for the scale of his Electoral College victory, and pondered aloud whether to dub the nation’s capital a “cesspool” or a “sewer.” Most illuminating in this manic display was an exposition on the virtues of fealty. “We could use some more loyalty; I will tell you that,” the president mused. These days, Trump seems fixated on treachery—among Republicans in Congress, among his Cabinet officials, and among his subordinates in the administration. His obsession may yet prove his undoing.

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Salaita, Out

Sympathy deferred.

I have written before about Steven Salaita. Once a tenured professor of English at Virginia Tech, he resigned from that position on the strength of an offer from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign to serve in the American Indian Studies program. But in the summer of 2014, UIUC rescinded the offer, mainly over of a series of reprehensible Salaita tweets.

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Syria’s Forsaken Rebels

Has Washington given up on Syria?

Last week, I wrote about one of the troublesome byproducts of the Trump-Putin summit in Hamburg: a ceasefire in southwestern Syria that Israel worries will entrench Iranian control of that area bordering the Israeli Golan Heights. The day after my article came out, the Washington Post reported on another troubling decision that President Trump has made vis a vis Syria: Ending a CIA program that had provided arms and training to anti-Assad forces.

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The Democratic Party’s False Centrism

It's a duck.

Democrats are finally digging out of the wreckage the Obama years wrought, and are beginning to acknowledge the woes they visited upon themselves with their box-checking identity liberalism. So, yes, the opposition is moving forward in the Trump area, but toward what? Schizophrenia, apparently.

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