Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a glorious day with a victory for Scott Brown in Massachusetts. But whether or not he wins, there is a question for Democrats -- how should they vote on the health care bill? Will they be more likely to be reelected if they vote against the bill now -- either after voting for the exact same bill previously or after voting in favor of a different bill (such as those House members who supported the House bill with the Stupak Amendment)?
One hears endlessly the liberal argument that Democrats are better off if they vote for health care, because the Democrats lost both houses in 1994 after the bill was defeated. But this is really quite a weak argument. Will people who are angry about the health care bill become less angry if the bill is enacted?
A Democrat can make the following argument. You know, I voted for it the first time, but things have changed. The extent of the opposition is stronger now and I think it would be wrong to enact it in the face of such strong opposition. What's more, the economy is not getting stronger and I think we have to focus on that. I am a representative of the people, and I am changing my mind in response to public sentiment and changed circumstances.
If I were a conservative Democrat, an independent, or liberal Republican, I would find this argument much more persuasive than the argument of a representative that he voted in favor of the bill, despite the voters' beliefs, because he thought it was a good bill.