There are, however, some silver linings. The first is that in certain ways not having a filibuster-proof majority is politically advantageous to the President. If you have 60 votes, the pressure is on you to deliver every single one of them. If you have 59, the pressure is suddenly on the minority party not to be obstructionist. Remember, Obama may be unpopular, but he's way more popular than the Republican Party as a brand. Republicans are doing well in these elections because the economy is creating an anti-incumbent wave, not because people like them. [...]
Today comes even better news. If Coakley loses, the House may pass the Senate version in exchange for a promise to use reconciliation to expand health care. It will take 60 senators to repeal the new law; it will only take 50 to expand it.
The use of reconciliation following passage of a health care bill was always progressives' dream scenario. It's about to be foisted on us... by the teabaggers.
JUSIPER, January 21, 2010:
If Ted Kennedy found out that the first results of Martha Coakley's loss were 1) the House sending healthcare to the President's desk, followed by reconciliation to sweeten it, 2) the White House bringing back Paul Volcker and announcing sweeping banking reform, 3) a straight up condemnation of the Supreme Court by the Obama Administration and 4) the death of the Bernanke nomination, he'd be pritty, pritty happy.
Passage of the bill was only possible as long as conservative Senate Democrats thought they had the last word, which they did thanks to the filibuster. That is, their original 60 votes for the health care bill were contingent on reconciliation being off the table. This bill is much more generous because Democrats could no longer get the bill through the House without reconciliation. It would never have happened if Democrats had the 60 votes; reconciliation, from the beginning, was deemed too uncivil a move for the clubby Senate, not least when they had to pass the primary bill with those 60 votes.
And that's why we owe Massachusetts teabaggers big time, for bringing our President back from a nine month slumber, and for destroying the filibuster's magical hold on semiprogressive senators. All the ethnic and sexual slurs in the world can't undo Barack Obama's signature on the biggest piece of domestic legislation since Medicare.