The Senate voted Saturday night to begin debate on its health overhaul bill, leaving liberal bloggers jittery about the bill’s future while conservatives enumerate the many challenges to come.
But first — Politifact deconstructs an email by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, where he says the Senate health bill is longer than War and Peace. Politifact’s take? “So while Hatch is right if you simply count pages, when you use a more accurate comparison — the number of words — War and Peace is actually longer. In other words, he is right by one measurement, but not by the best measurement. So it turns out that Democrats aren’t as wordy as a Russian novelist. Who knew? We find his claim Barely True.”
The New Republic’s Jonthan Cohn surveys the health reform landscape and asks, “Should We Laugh? Cry? Or Both?” He portrays the upcoming weeks as sure to be painful for progressives:
Victories are more likely to come in the form of ground not conceded than ground gained. Every day that legislation doesn’t get worse is a day to cherish.
That may not sound like much to celebrate. But to get a bit of perspective, glance over to the other ideological corner–where the right, and many of its kindred special interests, are going absolutely crazy.
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey looks at a new Rasmussen poll that finds the lowest level of public support thus far: “The more people see of ObamaCare and the way Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have to force it through Congress, the less they like it. Rasmussen’s latest survey on the legislation shows support for the bill reaching its nadir, 38%, with an 18-point deficit from public opposition, which is 56%. It’s the first time in Rasmussen’s surveys of likely voters that support for Barack Obama’s signature agenda item has dropped below 40%.” Rasmussen consistently found lower levels of public support throughout the debate.
Grace-Marie Turner: “The cost of health care is indeed the top issue, and the American people understand that new taxes never will be enough to pay for Reid’s or Pelosi’s reform plans.” She offers a list of signs that there is “turbulence ahead” including a new public opinion poll and Senators’ statements before the vote.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein explains why the vote doesn’t make things eaiser: “During that debate, they will need to call cloture votes in order to amend the bill. After that process is finished, there will be another cloture vote to begin voting on the bill. At this point in the history of the United States Senate, Harry Reid pretty much needs to call a cloture vote before he can sneeze. It’s all cloture votes, all the time. And the fact that Reid won today’s vote doesn’t mean he’ll win tomorrow’s.”
Heritage’s Brian Darling gives an example of how the Senate process could be injected with even more hot political issues: “This process may go in one of two directions. It is possible that Reid uses the amendment process to buy just enough votes to pass the bill through targeted special interest amendments. … Scenario two kicks in if opponents of the bill play hardball. If opposing Senators offer non-germane amendments like the legislation to restore the 2nd Amendment in the District of Columbia or a resolution of disapproval for Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try Kahlid Sheik Mohammed in federal courts.”
And Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky made an interesting catch — he finds Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who has pledged to oppose a bill with a public option — in a bit of a bind. Her website says she supports it.