Where Was Barack?
February 25, 2010

  I have assumed that the real purpose of today’s health care summit was to rally public support for comprehensive health care reform – the kind of reform sketched out in the president’s own proposal this week – and that by rallying the public, the administration hoped to allay the fears of wavering Senators and House members that they would suffer retribution in the fall if they voted for the bill. It was part of what I’d like to call the White House’s “outside” game. But I wonder whether the White House really gets it. Yesterday, on the eve of the summit, when Henry Waxman’s House committee

Christ, You Know It Ain't Easy
February 22, 2010

I've been pointing out that the structural barriers to passing health care reform are very weak right now. Democrats just need 217 of their 255 House members, and 50 of their 59 Senators, to vote for something that nearly all of them have already voted for. The question of whether they can overcome their panic and mutual resentment to do so is a serious one.

Battered House Syndrome
February 12, 2010

House Democrats are upset, reports Politico: [Pelosi's] staff, her members and a lot of the Democratic leaders are still genuinely angry about all the heavy lifting they did last year — on health care, jobs and cap and trade — while, in their eyes, the White House played favorites with the Senate. At the beginning of Obama’s presidency, he agreed to make cuts from the stimulus package in order to attract a few Senate Republicans, even though it made the measure less attractive to many key House members.

It's About the Narratives
February 03, 2010

Matthew Yglesias expresses the political logic for passing health care reform, succinctly and, in my opinion, persuasively: If you’ve already voted for health reform, which a majority of House members and 59 Senators have, then you’re already going to get hit with 100 percent of the hits that accrue to people who vote for Obamacare. Nobody is going to care about the fine nuances of “senate bill” versus “house bill” or whatever.

Failed Reform Would Haunt the Democrats Like the Undead
February 03, 2010

President Obama is going to address another Congressional gathering today. The audience will be more friendly this time: It will be the Senate Democratic caucus. But the stakes will be just as high as they were when Obama spoke to Republican House members last week. Health care is bound to come up at the meeting. I assume Obama will raise it during his prepared remarks; if not, he'll get questions about it. And the big controversy right now is whether the Senate is willing to amend its bill through the budget reconciliation process.

This Isn't the End (Trust Me, I've Been There Before)
January 28, 2010

 Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. As an advocate for health reform in California, I’ve seen health reform proposals die. I’ve seen it die by vote, and I've seen it die by veto. In 2004, an expansion of employer-based coverage narrowly lost in a referendum, getting an excruciating 49.2 percent of the vote.

Republicans Aren’t Sitting as Pretty as They Think
January 24, 2010

Most of the analysis of the impact of Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts has naturally revolved around the Democratic Party. Having lost the “Kennedy seat,” in the bluest of blue states, with health care reform legislation (and the ability to overcome Republican filibusters on other legislation) in extreme peril, and already facing a very difficult midterm election environment, what can the Donkey Party and its leaders do to mitigate the damage? Will they pull together or scatter to the four winds?

Does He Feel Your Pain?
January 20, 2010

Forget Massachusetts. Obama's problem is nationwide.

Democratic Strategery
January 19, 2010

A staffer speaks: The second and far bigger hurdle is convincing utterly panicked senators and House members to spend an additional month or two on health care reform, at the precise moment it seems to be the party's Waterloo. "Sure you could say it's worse because we didn't pass anything," says one staffer. "But it might be better to get past this as soon as possible and bring it up for a vote in the Senate; let the Republicans kill it — and then blame them for everything." It worked in 1994, didn't it? Oh, wait.

Church and State
December 24, 2009

WASHINGTON--It is 2009's quiet story--quiet because it's about what didn't happen, which can be as important as what did. In this highly partisan year, we did not see a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture. Yes, we continued to fight over gay marriage, and arguments about abortion were a feature of the health care debate. But what's more striking is that other issues--notably economics and the role of government--trumped culture and religion in the public square.