Thursday, 21 January 2010

Chickenshit Dem Watch: Day 2

Always ready to kick his own party when they're down, Bart Stupak arrives to behave like an arse again:
Stupak has said many, many times before that he won’t support a bill without his amendment. If that would mean the downfall of health-care reform, then so be it... Stupak claims—and so far, I haven’t heard any dispute to this—that he has 10 or 11 Democrats committed to opposing the Senate bill’s less restrictive language.
Stupak apparently has history of exaggerating his support, but he may not be this time. Obviously, this poses a problem (and, as always, it's nice to see these people are so concerned about human life that they'll allow tens of thousands of people to die unless they can guarantee poor women can't safely have abortions).

On the other hand, if healthcare does go down in flames (and right now, that's most certainly where my money is, especially with Obama in full-on cowardly pussy mode) , I'd at least rather we have a specific list of Democrats to hold responsible. I doubt very much whether it will make any actual difference come the mid-terms, but in terms of cold comfort (which is the only kind of comfort liable to be available for a while), I'd rather the party was betrayed by specific, identifiable individuals, rather than collapsing as a whole, which was what seemed likely on Tuesday night.

Following on from this, I'm trying to decide what the downsides are to bringing this to the vote. It might well not pass, but I'm having a hard time believing the visual of the Democrats losing the vote could possibly be worse than not bothering to hold it after a year of bigging it up. In a nation of 300 milliion, I'm betting only Sarah Palin thinks losers are less impressive than quitters.

Hold the vote, and hold the cameras on every single prick or prickess who decides to screw his or her country. I want to know exactly who to add to my list of people to blame.

Or am I missing something? Beyond the fact that twenty quid says almost every single Democratic Congressperson who is about to humiliate their party is right now demanding the vote be skipped so as to avoid them being "embarrassed"?


Senior Spielbergo said...

The Dems do indeed seems to be in full on Chicken mode. Here's a question though, say you do identify all those responsible, what happens if they are then the ones to get reallected come the mid terms? What does that imply?

SpaceSquid said...

Hypothetically, it would involve a fairly complex analysis, but it'll never happen. Everyone liable to block the bill will do so either because their supporters are too liberal to be able to stand the corporate hand-job the legislation has morphed into, or they're too conservative to vote for any legislation that will get them pegged as liberal now that that Brown's victory denies them the ability to get things in exchange with which to placate their voters.

The upshot is that no-one blocking the bill from the left will gain from that decision, because any liberals who agree with burning the bill would vote for them anyway, and no-one in the centre is going to vote for him based on this. Anyone who didn't want the Democrats to fail gets burned, and anyone who did want them to fail is damn unlikely to vote for a liberal under any circumstances in any event.

On the other hand,no-one from the right is likely to gain anything either, because conservative Cogresspeople from conservative districts have the problem that when Democrats lose seats, they're almost invariably seats held by conservative Democrats (clearly the Mass. election demonstrates that this isn't always the case). The Democrats got in by promising to clear up the mess. If the party fails to do that, its the right wing of the party that's in trouble, because they live in places where a Republican alternative wouldn't seem like a remotely bad idea.

I also don't think it's plausible to suggest someone's vote on a bill that failed will particularly matter after a few months. Generally speaking, it's only bills that pass that get hung around people's necks, unless you're the President. The Republicans seem keen to use the "X voted for healthcare" as a beating stick come the midterms, but I don't actually believe it would be all that effective. "They can't get anything done", on the other hand...

All of which means at this point there is very little downside to a vote of either yes or no, conditional on the bill failing to pass.

This, I think, is the issue that far too many House Democrats don't seem able to wrap their heads around. They've worked out that if the bill fails, their own individual vote won't make any difference to their electoral chances, but they haven't cottoned on to the fact that their electoral chances are effected by the bill failing in itself.

SpaceSquid said...

Sorry, that should be "are affected".