Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smart Talk about Yesterday's Failure

Everyone's chiming in on Coakley's failure, what it means for health care, whether or not Obama is at fault, and the future. Here's a few good pieces:

Tim Fernholz blames Democrats' failure at framing the issues. I totally agree; they've bickered amongst themselves, allowed blowhards like Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman to create an image of health care as a problem, and dickered away the opportunity to pass meaningful reform. Rather than fold to every Republican desire, as Bayh evidently intends, it's far more useful, both politically and on the merits, to reframe Democratic programs as the way to help the American people.

Reg at Beautiful Horizons notes:

My own hope is that it serves as a wake-up call to Democrats for 2010. And a "wake-up" call doesn't mean a signal to retreat more and take on the country's problems less. It means more clarity, more consistency, more fight, more principled proposals that ordinary people can see as serving their interests. It means organizing and energizing the base to organize and energize Democrats and independents in the fall elections. It means fielding effective, attractive candidates who can reach out and speak to traditional Democrats and independents. It means pushing forward on health care, not evading or watering-down the issue.

Couldn't say it better myself.

And Sadly, No hits it on the head:

Here’s the rub — even if Obama does this and manages to convince the House to pass Liebercare and then fix it through reconciliation, is there any evidence that the Dems will try to do this? The key to successful health care reform is that people have to like the reform. That means it must have something for them in it. People will like a Medicare buy-in, for instance (because Medicare apparently isn’t government, y’know) and they would have liked cheap prescription drugs.

If Liebercare becomes law without significant changes, people will hate it and it will wreck the Democratic brand basically forever. So if you can be sure that Congress will fix it right’n'good during reconciliation, then I say go for it. Otherwise, well, we’ll let the health care situation get even worse and try again in another 15 years.

Yep. New Deal programs made sure people received benefits almost immediately, that the programs were popular, and that the people knew which party provided these benefits. The popularity of these programs covered for a huge expansion in the federal government, a need for more tax revenue, and other changes Americans have traditionally been uncomfortable with. If the Democrats don't understand that people have to want the changes being made, then they are finished.