Thursday, December 24, 2009

Senate Pushes Health Reform Bill Through Step Two

As expected, the Senate passed the health reform bill this morning on a 60-39 vote. Retiring Sen Bunning of Kentucky was the missing GOPer. Unclear what his motivations were though I heard some rumor he's pissed at McConnell. But whatever, the Senate Dems are thrilled with themselves and have received much praise from the President. The reaction among the rest of the world, at least on the internets is mixed. Not a lot of champagne cork popping happiness out there, and there's still a lot of disgruntled lefties bitching at full steam.

Lord knows, I don't feel much like celebrating it myself, but neither do I feel like leaping off the rooftop in despair. We've got at least a month, probably more to badger the conference committee into restoring some of the House provisions that would have made it better. And it is, as Ezra explains, still a major acheivement.
It's been a long time since the legislative system did anything this big, and people have forgotten how awful the victories are. But these are the victories, and if they feel bad to many, they will do good for more. As that comes clearer and clearer, this bill will come to feel more and more like the historic advance it actually is.
I hope he's right about that and have some hope that the disappointed lefties will come around and start working together again to make it stronger. In some ways, the hissiness that has taken over the internets in the last few days feels like the stages of breaking up with a lover. I believe that no small part of the anger is simply because people were forced to let go of the notion Obama is some secret 11th dimension chess whiz. He's just the same safe ante poker player he always was.

As Propect honcho Mark Schmitt points out, this process has probably been an education for him too.
I've always argued that Obama viewed his central domestic mission as changing the culture and practice of American politics. The passage of health reform is a revelation of just how desperately that change is needed and how difficult it will be to achieve.
As I said earlier, it's the process that needs changing. Vesting hope in single players within the system is a recipe for a crashing letdown from the start. Meanwhile, Amanda Marcotte is the latest to weigh in on the intercine blogwars, with a very smart post.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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