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The election of Republican Scott Brown to replace the deceased Ted Kennedy in the Senate from Massachusetts yesterday destroys the Democrats’ 60-vote supermajority, widely presumed to be needed for passage of a health care bill, or so it would seem from headlines (“House Dems largely reject idea of passing Senate health care bill“), from Republicans who cheered “41!” at Brown’s victory as if it were some kind of milestone, and from conservative Democrats like Evan Bayh, who portrays the election as a “wake-up call,” indicating that Democrats should propose a weaker health care bill that will not piss off insurance lobbyists and other powerful Republican constituencies.
New York congressman and former mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner said before the election that “I think you can make a pretty good argument that health care might be dead” if Brown were to win; after Brown’s victory, Weiner has come out with, “We shouldn’t show the arrogance of not getting the message here,” “I don’t think it would be the worst thing to take a step back,” and other gutless whinges.
Conservatives are delirious. “Waterboarding wins,” exults National Review‘s Marc Thiessen, noting that Brown “spoke out forcefully in favor of enhanced interrogation.” Michael Graham calls it a “once-in-a-generation, never-saw-it-coming, dance-in-the-streets victory for democracy.” Brown is expected to be seated quickly, and Republicans to move as quickly to pass legislation with their 41-vote majority.
The lesson, as always, is that when Democrats win, they lose, and when they lose, they are obliterated.