Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Get your chinstraps on tight

if this is true. I am skeptical the Dems are unified enough to do this.

Ezra Klein making the case to move ahead. In the end, I think it really depends on what the Dems in House, in particular, think about the status quo of no bill, combined with the probability of (a) coming back to health care and (b) what the bill would look like if Congress did later (whether later this year, next congress, etc). Which do they think is better for the country? For me it is easy call of move ahead. But, they have to decide.

From straight politics perspective, I think it goes like this. If you are a vulnerable Dem and you voted yea in Nov. 7 you are already going to face ads of 'liberal/socialist/wanted to kill your grandmother' etc. You are better off answering with a bill that covers 31 million people, banned pre-existing conditions, closed doughnut hole, and is a step toward slowing rate of cost inflation, etc. than answering with nothing. The ads will be the same regardless.

If vulnerable and voted no in the House, you probably like the bill now better than the one that passed the House and you voted against. But, you can still run and say I voted against. It comes down here to do you think the bill is better than status quo or not? I do. But I don't have to run for re-election as a professor at Duke;* they have to decide. And they are going to get adds of you supported Nancy Pelosi and her 'liberal/socialist/wanted to kill your grandmother' etc. bill.

Then there is abortion. I have no idea how this cuts with the above groups. I think it is an invented controversy, mostly because of the tax exclusion of employer paid insurance. That has clearly been subsidizng abortion since 1976 using the logic used by the Stupak amendment, but alas, discussion of abortion and logic do not often seem to intersect. I think this has always been a mixture of people wanting to 'poison pill' the bill and others simply latching their most important issue onto something they thought would pass.

So, bad political climate for Dems. In the end, they have to decide whether the bill is an important step ahead or not.

*Actually I am being reviewed for tenure by Duke this year, so sort of am running for re-election, but that is a different story.

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