Last week South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, in discussing the Democrats push for a health care reform bill, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on a suicide mission. He actually employed more colorful terms:
"Nancy Pelosi, I think, has got them all liquored up on sake and you know, they're making a suicide run here," Graham said, adding later that "I don't know whether it's sake or moonshine but no sober person would do this."
But the Democrats did on Sunday night. And 36 hours later, the American public has not fallen in love with the legislation. A CNN poll released last night shows 59% oppose the bill, while 39% support it (it should be noted that among that 59%, 13% say it's not progressive enough).
But also in the last 36 hours a new narrative has emerged. That is, that more Americans who will be immediately helped by the legislation will not be so stridently opposed to it, as they discover those benefits.
A column by former Bush speechwriter David Frum was the rage on the internet yesterday, at least amongst liberals who delighted in seeing a Republican bash his fellow conservatives in what he might refer to as a suicide mission, writing:
No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the doughnut hole and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there would President Obama sign such a repeal?
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
The St. Pete Times' Howard Troxler takes that perspective this morning, writing about all the benefits that will kick in immediately, adding:
So it is all well and good to campaign against "socialism." It is another thing to tell millions of Americans who will start enjoying these benefits before the election that it was a mistake, and they should want to give them back.
As for anything in this bill that stings? Well, most of that comes later. Penalties on individuals who refuse health insurance. Penalties on employers who don't provide it. Many of the taxes that are supposed to pay for it all.