According to Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, there are still plenty of routes to health care reform happening this year, and it really is dumb to count Obama out. The survival of particular congressional representatives is just one example of how things might go down as push comes to shove:
Any Democrat who votes against health care, moreover, can expect to be permanently shut off from the Obama-run DNC and from most or all grassroots fundraising drives, and many of them can probably expect a primary challenger. There are probably some Democrats who would be better off if health care went away. But once it comes up to vote, I’d imagine there will be very few who are actually better off voting against it.
And what if Obama’s specific proposal goes down? Well, there’s the possibility of a credible switch up:
I don’t see any particular reason why the Administration couldn’t press the reset button and push for a different sort of health care bill — particularly Ron Wyden’s, which already has a half-dozen Republican supporters. In fact, it might make Obama look somewhat good to “acknowledge the political realities” (yadda yadda) and adopt a more “bipartisan” approach. A lot of Republicans claim to support health care — just not the particular approach being put forth by the Democratic Congress. Shifting gears, particularly to a bill like Wyden-Bennett that is strong on cost containment, would reveal many of them to be hypocrites, but probably also secure enough of their votes to make passage a likelihood.