Despite the Democratic attempts to paint the health care bill as an inevitability, the signs of life for the bill are looking ever more faint.
The bill is extremely unpopular and the poll numbers seem to be getting worse for it by the week. Moreover, Harry Reid is having an extremely difficult time getting to 60 votes and his attempt to replace the public option by expanding Medicare seemed like a desperation move. Yet and still, Lieberman and Nelson shot the idea down almost as soon as it was proposed, leaving Reid with no easy option to get a bill passed and a Christmas break coming up where Democratic senators are sure to get an earful from angry constituents who oppose the bill.
So with that in mind, I decided to turn to some of my sources in the Senate to see what they had to say. What follows is an edited transcript of a conversation I had with Senate Aide X, one of my most trusted sources. What you’re about to read is probably representative of the behind-the-scenes thinking of Republicans in the Senate and of course, this is being posted with that person’s permission:
John: Hey, if this latest Medicare/healthcare bill goes down in flames, will Reid go for reconciliation? Also, I assume if this fails, we’re into January, right?
Senate Aide X: Yes, January and I doubt if they’ll go for reconciliation.
John: Why do you doubt reconciliation? I ask because I am thinking it won’t get 60.
Senate Aide X: I just haven’t heard any talk of it.
John: Do you think it will get 60? I am thinking, no.
Senate Aide X: I don’t doubt the Dems may do anything to pass it, so I’m not ready to declare it dead.
John: But still, it’s looking grim right?
Senate Aide X: They are in much worse shape now than a week ago. If the bill dies this week, it will be because Dems just let it crumble through infighting and the Tea Party/American people standing up in August and demanding through weeks of recent phone calls and protests that it be stopped.
John: If it were to pass somehow, do you think it could die going through ping pong, back and forth between the House?
Senate Aide X: No! Pelosi will rubber stamp whatever the Senate passes.
John: So, you think all these demands from the Left about the public option and the Blue Dogs saying they have to have the Stupak Amendment in there are all for show?
Senate Aide X: No, the left-roots passion is real, but if you are Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, you know this is a one shot deal. This moment won’t happen again soon and it’s better to cut any deal you can to socialize health care as much as you can now. Take the win, go for more later.
John: One last thing: Chances of passing a health care bill? Give me a percentage.
Senate Aide X: Less than 50% now
John: Thanks for your time. Have a good night.
Long story short, folks, the fight isn’t over by a longshot. Reid is still working to get something passed that Pelosi can slam through the House. Moreover, if that doesn’t work, Reid may still try reconciliation. But, the odds are slowly but surely turning in our favor. Keep up the good work and we may be able to stop the Democrats from slashing Medicare, raising premiums, raising taxes, funding abortion with our tax dollars, rationing care, and ruining the quality of our health care system.