Bob Dylan has a Christmas album, “Christmas in the Heart.”
Which must mean that 1.) all things are possible and 2.) strange things are certain.
Excellent reminders as the real debate on Obamacare gets under way.
Saturday night's vote to allow opening arguments in the Senate was great news for Gilbert Baker, front-running GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Arkansas. Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln can only survive the inevitable red tide of 2010 if she is on the right side of the “Stop Obamacare” debate, but she whiffed in her first at-bat.
She missed the chance to declare her genuine moderation to an Arkansas electorate that wants no part of the Reid-Schumer-Boxer leadership elite that has served up Obamacare and cap and tax.
When Sen. Lincoln voted with every other Democrat against every other Republican, she wrote the opening line in every Baker speech from now until November 2010: “I am running because when it came down to a choice between Chicago and Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln chose Chicago.”
Lincoln can still rewrite the script, and some shrewd observers see her setting up a dramatic break with the majority in early 2010 when, after the holidays have passed and the attention of the country is focused on the Senate, she will refuse to allow Obamacare to proceed and fix in her electorate's mind a sharply defined portrait of courage and independence.
Perhaps, but in the meantime, Baker will be certain to be campaigning on Saturday night's vote.
As will GOP Senate candidates in California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and of course Nevada. Obamacare is poison for the country's medical delivery system, but it is reviving the GOP's fortunes faster than any magic brew. So determined are the Democratic congressional majorities to wreck themselves on the deeply unpopular power grab that Republican fundraising is taking off like a rocket.
Rep. Pete Sessions of the National Republican Congressional Committee unveiled ReversetheVote.org on Tuesday afternoon, and by Sunday thousands of small donors had contributed more than $100,000 to the effort to defeat the 24 most vulnerable House Democrats who voted for Obamacare on Nov. 7.
If Obamacare survives the Senate and returns for one more vote in the House, those 24 will have to think long and hard about what sort of political suicide note they are being asked to sign. The more momentum such an outreach gains, and similar ones such as that run by TalkPac.com targeting vulnerable Democratic senators up next November, the more fertilized are the “green shoots” of the Republican revival by the massive tax increases and deep Medicare cuts embedded in Obamacare.
The proposed massive cuts and embedded rationing being moved along on pork-greased tracks are profoundly rebranding the new president and his congressional allies as not just from the hard-Left edge of the American political spectrum, but as untrustworthy as well, given the scores of promises broken to get this far.
Another worrying sign for Democrats is in the new grass-roots organization Docs4PatientCare.org. This past weekend, hundreds of doctors and health care professionals, supported by thousands of their patients, rallied in cities from Atlanta to Los Angeles to publicize the awful consequences for the doctor-patient relationship if Obamacare passes.
The American Medical Association has joined AARP as the most discredited organizations of 2009, and in the wake of their collapse of credibility, new and improved substitute organizations dedicated to their original but now abandoned missions are self-organizing.
The news of the proposed rewrite of the rules of American medicine is still very much in the delivery stage. Seniors especially are only beginning to grasp what a half-trillion dollars in cuts will mean over the balance of what they had thought would be their golden years but which, if Obamacare passes, will instead be the “give-us-your-gold” years.
Side deals like Sen. Mary Landrieu's, D-La., yes vote in exchange for $100 million — the new “Louisiana Purchase” — are the sort of squalid Beltway exchanges that will not be forgotten. Democrats who tell themselves that the worst is over are deluding themselves.
Though Obamacare's fate is still very much up in the air, the president, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have guaranteed that its effect will already be profound and lasting. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether it leads to a historic and completely unexpected anti-Obama/Democrat realignment in 49 weeks.
A year ago, that seemed as unlikely as a Dylan Christmas album.