I have read lots of diaries recently about the prospects for the Democrats in November if they don't pass healthcare. There is also a lot of noise about the lack of direction from the White House on next steps. Instead of wishing/praying the weasly/timid Democrats can actually use their power and govern - Nancy Pelosi seems to get the job done, if no one else - I have a very practical, pragmatic solution below the fold.
My very practical suggestion is to either call/fax or email your House Representative or Senator THIS WEEK. If they are a Democrat tell them you will sit out the Fall election and encourage your likeminded friends and family to do the same if there is no signed healthcare bill this year.
In other words - you are not directly supporting the Republicans, but you refuse to participate in voting in another 'accomplish nothing on healthcare' Congress. If your Rep/Senator is a Republican - tell them the same - you will be certainly be voting for his/her opponent if he/she does not sign on to a healthcare bill that passes. It is very simple. Dems must act to get you to vote. Repugs need to act to get you to consider voting for them.
I will be doing this today for my Senator Specter and my Rep Brady. If the Dems cannot vote on healthcare then let them take the punishment from their base. Nancy has a huge margin in the House and Harry has 57 Dems plus one reliable Indie and one unreliable Indie in the Senate. George W never had that margin in the Senate but at least George had blue dog DEMS who would side with him on procedural votes and sometimes even the vote itself (i.e. Ben Nelson votes on the Bush Tax cuts). Things are so poisonous in DC right now even the Maine twins are siding with the Repugs on all procedural votes. Even Olympia Snowe sided with Shelby on his immoral filibuster of 70 Obama nominees, even on individuals poised for national security posts. It is absolutely shameful.Butthe Dems & WH do not seem to have a cohesive PR machine to effectively counteract the Republican hyseria we see on cable and TV every day, despite their majorities. They seem to look like they are just waiting to lose!
Sarah, the quitter and now the cheater (with hand notes on her palms) said one smart thing last night. She said if the other side is not negotiating in good faith (in other words their extreme view of your policy prohibits compromise) - then you ditch bipartisanship and govern. She didn't say it exactly like that, but you get my drift. I ABSOLUTELY agree. The Dems should forget bipartisanship and pass their agenda, even if we know Obama cannot publically say he is ditching bipartisanship. If America then really hates the impact of the DEMS new policies, they will be voted out.
Last, Obama needs to get this jobs bill passed first, so I suspect there will be no hardball (reconciliation on healthcare or recess appointments) until this passes. It does make good political sense.
If the Dems cannot step up to the plate and govern, and by that it may just mean
1. exposing Republican hypocrisy and obstructionism in a very public way
2. making them actually filibuster on the Senate floor
3. and Obama having to resort to recess appointments
4. and using reconciliation when necessary to get some bills passed
...then PRAY TELL WHY IN THE HELL SHOULD WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE?
I think I am expressing resonable strategies for this mess. I am the base. This base cannot simply be taken for granted that we will turn out faithfully and pull that Dem lever come next Fall.
I have great faith in Obama and Pelosi. That's about it however. So put your elected Reps and Senators on notice. No HEALTH CARE/NO VOTE.