We're going to have to start reconsidering Will Rogers' famous pronouncement "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."
In a historic Sunday night vote, 219 House Democrats voted to pass the Senate's version of Health Care Reform sending the bill back to the Senate to agree on changes. President Obama will probably get the bill to sign sometime this week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has answered her critics in terms of how well she could deliver votes on important Democratic initiatives. Sunday night's vote solidifies her place in history among the House's most effective leaders.
Various Republican and Democratic administrations have discussed the idea and/or tried to pass a Health Care Reform bill for over sixty years. President Obama will always be remembered for having achieved this maddeningly illusive goal.
We have the winners tonight, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, not to mention the 30 million uninsured Americans who will now be able to get Health Care and the rest of us who don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions.
We also have the losers, the Republicans, Tea Partiers, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, etc. The enormous amount of time and money they spent trying to defeat this bill has come to naught. Worse for all of the above losers, as time goes on and there are no death panels, as there is no reduction in Medicare coverage for seniors and as all of the other Republican propaganda is proven false, there is going to be a major shift in credibility and support in favor of Democrats.
It is going to be a more drawn out version of the loss of credibility the Republicans suffered in the wake of President Obama's speech to school children when the shrieking cries of "Socialist speech" met the reality of a speech that exhorted children to stay in school and strive for educational achievement.
Even more serious for the GOP is that Republicans have lost a major battle for the American middle class. One of the reasons Republicans oppose measures like these when championed by Democrats is that they fear Democrats will rightfully be seen as the champions of middle and working class America. Various writings of Republican strategist William Kristol make this point.
An interesting question is how the Republicans will position themselves on Health Care going forward. While the passing of this bill is a huge moment and shift in the political landscape, there is more work to be done on Health Care Reform. One wonders how Republicans can even participate in that work considering how they have railed against the bill. In the short term, they probably cannot, meaning Democrats will continue to be seen as the ones who really care about Health Care and those who need it.
Republican opposition to Health Care Reform is on its way to being seen as the worst miscalculation in the history of American politics. They plan court challenges and they say that they intend to try to repeal the bill after the 2010 elections but the chance of the Republicans obtaining 67% margins in the House and Senate such that they could overcome a Presidential veto is next to zero. It's also hard to imagine the court challenge route working. Health care mandates are already in effect in Massachusetts and I have to believe there is existing judicial review affirming Massachusetts mandates. The Republicans are eventually going to have to find a face-saving way to accept and embrace Democratic Health Care Reform efforts. Watching them get to that point is going to be fun.