Over the next forty-eight hours we’ll know the answers to two questions: whether there will be Health Care Reform and whether the Democrats will have any shot going into the 2010 election. Everybody who gets the politics has made clear that it’s political suicide for the Democrats not to finish health care reform done. And it seems clear that the only way to do that is for the House to pass the existing senate bill and then revise it in subsequent legislation.
Congressional Democrats on the right and left are putting forward arguments for running for the Hills. Barney Frank says reform should be allowed to die. Bill Delahunt says Democrats should return to an ‘incremental approach’. Evan Bayh says the whole thing should be dropped. And we’ll hear from many more people over the course of the day saying similar things.
The White House has made clear that health care can’t be dropped and that the House should pass the senate bill. But it’s speaking feebly. David Axelrod is saying he thinks it’s the right way to go. The president has said nothing. At most the White House is speaking with all the authority and volume of blind quotes. Which is to say they’re barely speaking at all.
The only thing that is going to stop the rush for the exits is a clear statement from the president. But so far, silence.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.