Dems scared into action on health care reform

Yes, but.

Democratic lawmakers, from the leadership on down, are facing what many describe as an unprecedented amount of political pressure as the party scrambles to pass health care reform.

In recent days, the message has been conveyed throughout the caucus that the failure to pass legislation into law would be a cataclysmic misstep. It goes beyond the certainty that activists in the base would be demoralized, that the president would be weakened or that Congress would seem entirely ineffectual (if not so already). The damage to the party would be so far-reaching, lawmakers have been told, that even the big-time donors who have long supported Democratic causes would be less inclined to contribute.

“The party is on a precipice,” said one longtime Democratic donor who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity. “If they pass this [bill], people will be jubilant. If they don’t, there are going to be a lot of us who consider just staying home in 2010.”

I think this misjudges a bit where “the base” stands. Some people don’t want the bill to pass at all. Others are reluctantly for passage, but passage is hardly going to inspire them to get out and vote (and donate) to the party. Remember, this is not the bill the base wanted. It’s the most conservative compromise of a compromise that epitomizes everything currently wrong with the party (cave first, ask questions later).

I agree that not passing the bill would make Democrats look even weaker than they already seem (and are). But passing it, after the abysmal mess both the White House and Congress made of this effort, is hardly going to inspire confidence for the future. “The base” – which apparently is the majority of the country at this point – has issues with the Democratic party because the partry doesn’t fight for what it says it believes in. That problem won’t be solved by voting for a bill that doesn’t do much of what the party and the President repeatedly promised, but never really fought for.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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