For a health care plan that the American people overwhelming want despite the “obstructionist” role of conservatives, it is amazing just how much work Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have to do in order to secure votes.
The first time around, it took backroom deals that will be noted history books decades down the road. Now, even that and a series full of arm-wrestling meetings might not be enough in this critical election year to secure the necessary votes.
The arm-twisting has certainly not been as effective as advertised, even among Pelosi and Reid. Whereas Pelosi—positioned in a safe electoral district—has been quoted as saying that health care is worth losing elections over, Reid—currently under heat in a highly competitive race in Nevada—has not been quite as vocal with that message.
Neither has been as loud as the American public on the matter, which is why Democrats are delaying a call to the mat for affirmative votes in favor of the plan.
Recent polls have indicated that everything the Democrats hoped to use to win over the American people—cost containment and an immediate response to current health care woes, for example—are playing against them. Overwhelming, Americans feel that the overall plan’s cost is being understated by the Democrats. More damaging to their health care cause and, moreso, to President Obama’s legacy, most Americans believe that the Obama campaign pledge to spare the middle class of a tax increase will follow the lifecycle of President Bush’s famous “Read My Lips” mantra of two decades ago.
Despite all of the “Party of No” labeling and Coffee Party appearances, the impact of the Tea Party and its fury toward continued runaway spending in Washington plays heavy on the minds of House of Representatives members whose lease on their congressional seats expires in November. The bill was controversial enough, even with the additions of the Stupak Amendment and other conditions to “sweeten the deal” for conservative Democrats and some potential Republicans. However, with the current political environment, the incentive to jam through a controversial bill may not outweigh the cost at the polls for many congressmen, considering the amount of political activism throughout the nation since the 2008 elections.