Fair. Balanced. American.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama... so far from toast

Josh Marshall, who I suspect is right about the political and electoral impact of this monumental victory.
To that end, Frum's first point was, who cares if the Republicans take back Congress? Majorities come and go. But reform is permanent. For conservatives it's a catastrophic development and if they'd actually been part of the dialog they probably could have gotten a bill much more to their liking. The second point is political, though he's less clear in this case. Republicans, he says, are probably overestimating their chances this fall in any case.

I'm far from wanting to hazard a prediction. But I've thought for a while that this is right. Seven months is always a long time in politics. But this seven months particularly could be very long indeed.

I was in DC last week. And I was again struck, as I used to be when I lived there (1999-2004), by the powerful group-think that affects the place. It's really no different than you'd see in any other company town. But it's pervasive and hard to escape. When I was training down I read an update from a campaign watcher whose work I normally greatly respect. And he clearly believed that Health Care Reform was not only a catastrophe for Democrats but that the actual passage of the bill would have no political effect and that we're on pretty much a straight line between today and the November elections.

Again, I don't want to paint any rosy pictures. And, as I said, I don't want to hazard any predictions. But I think this conventional wisdom is quite mistaken. Hard fought victories don't deplete political capital; they build it. And political wins themselves often have a catalyzing effect that shapes political opinion far more than we realize.

Make no mistake, it's a genuinely historic moment, a realization that only now seems to be dawning on people. And expect to have political repercussions far greater than people expect. But as I wrote earlier, even if they lose their majorities in November, they'll be able to say: This is what we used these majorities to do. And it was worth it.

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