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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Voting For Obamacare Will Not Help Save Democrats' Majorities


There’s a myth circulating in the blogosphere and the punditry, and it is threatening the Democrats’ majorities. It goes like this: In 1994, Democrats failed to pass a healthcare bill, and they lost their majorities. Ergo, if Democrats fail to pass a healthcare bill in 2009, they will be at serious risk of losing their majorities in 2010, so to save their majorities, they should make certain above all else to get something passed...The list of Democrats echoing this theme is lengthy. Steve Benen, Mark Kleiman, and Matt Yglesias have all made variants of this argument. The President himself reportedly argued back in July that failure to pass this bill would destroy his Presidency as it did Clinton’s (as did Republican Senator Jim DeMint)....The frustrating thing about this myth is not only that it is becoming so widespread, but also that it is so deeply misguided. The Democrats did not lose Congress in 1994 because they failed to pass health care reform. They lost Congress in 1994 because they failed to rally the public behind health care reform. Had Democrats successfully sold Clintoncare to the public and then passed it, their majorities might have been saved. But had Democrats gone ahead and passed it anyway, under the conditions that existed in summer of 1994, their losses likely would have been even greater than they ultimately experienced in November

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