In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia, reaching and taking Moscow, but failing to get a Russian surrender and without supplies to stay in Moscow. His armies had expended every last bit of support they had to get into Moscow. When the Russian army pushed back, Napoleon’s Army started a long, disastrous retreat which destroyed his forces largely through starvation (including cannibalism) and death from exposure.
The resemblance to the Democratic party’s effort to pass a health care bill are uncanny, and the loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts is the equivalent of arriving in Moscow and finding no food, buildings, or people that could be used to support the “victory”.
It remains to be seen how much of the current health care bill’s provisions will be lost in the new environment (it wasn’t by any standard a great bill up to this point), but one reasonably likely casualty will be the inclusion of the CLASS act, the only part of the bill that had improvement of the LTC system as a goal, and a weak concept at that considering the problems that the American LTC system has.
And that is just the beginning. Right or wrong, supporting the health care bill will be seen as a political liability for much of the country in the 2010 elections. Ben Nelson, who staked his political career on his support for this bill, will now suffer all the same political problems for a significantly weaker bill. I suspect that other Democratic senators who only won their seats the last time around by moving away from liberalism will face uphill battles. And of course, there will be significant losses in the Democratic House as well in 2010.
A strategic failure of the first order. A feasible outcome is a frozen Senate, incapable of actually support President Obama on anything important (look at how weak their support for health care has been with the so called “veto-proof” majority), and a much weaker Democratic House. And don’t be surprised by signs of cannibalism in the Democratic Party.
There are worse possibilities as far as health care is concerned. However the health care bill turns out, NO ONE will try for significant health care reform in my lifetime. The American health care system will continue to crumble like the infrastructure of Detroit, and when a solution becomes politically feasible again, because of the sheer incompetence of the health care system, the problem to be solved will be far larger and far more intractable than it is now.
The only redeeming feature is the Republican compulsion to play “Russian Roulette” (see how I maintained the metaphor?) with their party’s message.
A very sorry and disappointing state of affairs…..