At one point yesterday I was convinced that the Democrats had more than 220 votes and thus enough to pass their radical plan to reform health care. At another point, I figured they were about a half-dozen short of the 216 necessary to ram it through. Depending who you talk to, the feeling on The Hill is that the Democrats have enough or don’t have enough with very few people admitting that they don’t know. We might not know until the actual vote is taken, assuming there is an actual vote. A few news items before I get to my provocative title of this post.
Slate has the chances of Obamacare passing at 55%.
The Politico reports that if Democrats use Slaughter Rules to force through Obamacare, there will likely be a court challenge over its constitutionality.
The New York Times reports that Democrats are still maneuvering to get the votes and figure out how to best proceed tactically in the House of Representatives. I have no idea what it means, although it is significant that the paper reports “Democratic leaders said they were confident that they could muster the 216 votes needed to pass the legislation, though they stopped short of claiming to have firm commitments in hand.” It is hard to believe that any legislator could be undecided or persuadable at this stage of the game. It says a lot that seven months after the president’s first deadline for getting health care reform passed, he still has to lobby members of his own party to get the job done.
CNN reported yesterday that the Democrats are 11 votes shy of 216 and there are only about 20 votes in play. But that was before Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D, Ohio) flip-flopped so that he will now vote for Obamacare. He previously opposed it because the reforms weren’t socialist enough. He probably wouldn’t have switched his vote if the bill would fail anyway, so this might indicate the leadership has the votes to pass something in the House. Or the Democrat leadership wants to signal that they can pass Obamacare. Or Kucinich is going to be named an ambassador.
National Review editorializes that win or lose, the health care debate continues.
So finally, what do I mean when I say that pro-lifers are going to save Obama? While the President remains popular, his party and his policies do not. If the Obamacare debate continues or Congressional Democrats use tricks to enact reform, Obama’s personal popularity is at risk. However, a straight up or down vote which is lost, will put comprehensive health care reform on the backburner for now, rescuing Obama’s chances to maintain his popularity. If he is connected to a failed or unpopular policy or the thuggery or unconstitutional games to enact it, he will certainly be a one-term president. If he is allowed to move on, he has an excellent chance to occupy the White House until 2016. As Lisa Fabrizio says at The American Spectator, “the issue that may drive the final spike into this mess of a bill is appropriately, abortion.” I wouldn’t use the word ‘may’. I have said here often that when Obamacare goes down it will due to the debate over abortion funding making these bills as much about abortion has health care. It is ironic that the pro-life opposition to Obamacare could end up prolonging the political life of the pro-abortion Obama.