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The Gamble

  • November 29, -0001
Senate Democrats are now poised to pass major health care legislation - not reform legislation, just legislation. The votes are now in place, and, because the Senate version is such a squeak-through, it will probably trump the House version and be the final bill, or close to it.

The Democrats are taking a major gamble in this legislation, which is opposed by over 50% of the American public in an election year in which all the House and a third of the Senate will stand. Why would the Democrats take this risk? What are they counting on to see them through?

Four things, it seems to me. First, the popularity of President Obama. We know he will be campaigning on behalf of every Democrat up for election, pleading with the electorate to help him finish his massive re-casting of American government. Second, the inability of the Tea Party Movement to maintain momentum into the fall. You can't run a political movement on sentiment and without visible, credible leaders. Third, the historic ability of Democrats to rally more people - most of them real - to the polls than Republicans. Fourth, the Medicare precedent - Medicare was passed into law with very low public support, but most people now consider it a good thing.

It's a big gamble, but it will probably pay off. By next fall, with President Obama firmly ensconced in the center and the economy looking a little better (although artificially so), most Americans will just go with the flow, and the flow is toward more government intervention and control, which means the Democrats should be fine in November.

The Democrats believe they're holding four aces, and they are gambling that their opponents don't have a straight flush. Unless the Republicans and the Tea Party Movement can reach some rapprochement and get their cards together, the Democrats' gamble may pay off.

T. M. Moore

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