The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn has a counterfactual article out based on a premise that there’s an alternate universe in which President Obama abandoned his health care push and Democrats were facing historic defeat anyway.
From an ideological liberal perspective, there’s plenty of ways you could argue that given the ephemeral nature of political power and the importance of moving toward a society with universal health insurance, Democrats were right to pass something when they had the chance, whatever the political costs. .
Yet from a political perspective, it’s hard to argue that the health care law has been anything but a disaster for Democrats. While we’ll have a better sense of things once we can look at actual results to see if those Democrats who voted “no” on ObamaCare fared better than their counterparts who went with the Democratic leadership, what we do know is that in the seven months since passage, the law remains unpopular and Democrats are running away from it rather than on it. In addition, there’s the opportunity costs. Obama has been going around in interviews saying that the White House was too focused on getting policy right to focus on politics and communications. Well, had he not spent over a year on passing a health care bill, he could have had more opportunites to communicate.
But heck, I don’t blame Cohn for thinking it was still worth it. If the Bush era Republicans had created Social Security personal accounts and real entitlement reform, I would have thought it was worth the price of the majority