Did the Democrats really just pass a bill? A controversial bill? That's the not-so-subtle undertone to the plethora of stories
dedicated to trying to pinpoint the health care turning point: how on earth
did the party of disorganization--famously lampooned in the Will Rogers line
--pull this off? Even those on the left are astounded.
- 'The Often Hapless, Sometimes Hopeless Democrats' The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson looks to the Democrats' past--as many have--to make the following point: "Obama and Pelosi became a legislative force that Democrats have
not seen since Lyndon Johnson."
- 'We're Not Total Wimps!' Maureen Dowd
devotes her New York Times column to describing the "state of shock" as
Democrats discover that they "don't have to sit around and let
[themselves] be slapped silly." The key, she argues, is that "when push
came to shove, [Obama] shoved (and let Nancy push)." It's a truth of
American politics, Dowd says: "You have to sink down into it. You have
to stop being cerebral and get your hands dirty. You can fight fear
- Lesson: Be Assertive The Politico headlines on
Democrats and health care have gone from disastrous to hopeful in a
mere two months, says The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz.
But "the only real difference between January and March was that the
Democrats decided to pass the bill. The party of indecision finally
figured out it wanted something, and got it." They need to keep that
resolve going forward, because "Americans love success," and
"discipline and confidence," such as they showed in the final moments
of the health care battle, are the only way to go.
- Where Did We Get This Guy? "The last two generations have no model for such a president," gushes The New Republic's Jonathan Chait.
"The only two other Democratic presidents of the last four decades are
Jimmy Carter, a failure, and Bill Clinton, who enjoyed modest successes
but failed in his most significant legislative fight." Thus, "the
template of a powerful, historically consequential Democratic president
is unfamiliar to many of us. Certainly the Republicans have no real
idea how to deal with it."
- History Didn't Repeat Itself--And Here's Why Conservative David Frum,
too, is thinking back to Clinton, in a much-quoted post that has whipped
around the blogosphere at warp speed. Republicans, he argues, were
"going for all the marbles," looking to make health care "Obama's
Waterloo," just like Clinton's in 1994. What they ignored, though, in
trying to go for an even speedier Democratic downfall:
was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block
within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than
it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their
history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.
- They Won Because, at Last, They Were Willing to Lose TPM's Josh Marshall, in an argument heavily reminiscent of Mario Cuomo, declares that Dems prevailed because they
"said to themselves and the country: on this ground we're willing to
lose." It was that conviction that both "stiffened their spines and
made them credible to the public at large."
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