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Somehow, through the force of what can only now be described as divine intervention, the health care bill survives. Obama today unveiled a newly reworked compromise proposal in hopes of reviving what is still the signature issue of the first half of his first term, and the one on whose vote the democrats will likely live or die by come november. For as much heat as the health care debate has generated, the bill continues to have a chance in hell of actually passing: even having been denied the magic 60, without the public option the likelihood of wooing moderate republicans rises significantly. And I’m not just talking about the Ladies from Maine: what was touted as the biggest political blow to the Democrats since their last ascension may in fact turn out to be their biggest boon: Scott Brown may yet save healthcare reform. As the daily beast points out, Brown was elected less by a wave of tea party fervor as much as being the alternative to a particularly crappy democratic candidate. And being the senator from a still rather liberal Massachusetts limits the extent to which the tea party can influence him, as if he wants to get reelected he can only go so far right before his constituents punish him, especially considering Massachusetts has its own form of public healthcare on a state scale, passed under Governor Guess Who. This makes the passage of an actual bill possible, if still unlikely: liberal house democrats (notably Pelosi) haven’t stopped bristling over the ejection of the public option as they have their own radicalized constituencies to worry about, and the GOP is still more interested in gaining political points by blocking the bill at every turn. Then again as the CNN article states there’s a live GOP vs. Obama news conference planned for Prime Time Thursday, and considering how round one went the White House’s recent maneuvers are likely making them very nervous indeed.

The Saga of Healthcare is Far From Over…

Taking a moment to avert my gaze from the unrelenting horror unfolding in Haiti, and putting it back on the unrelenting horror of domestic politics, I find myself practically insulted by the language being used to describe the race for the special election to fill the vacant senate seat in Massachusetts. I’d like to see it stay in democratic hands myself, but the stench of entitlement coming off of the democrats is nigh-overpowering: “It’s Ted Kennedy’s seat! We have to keep it!” Ted Kennedy is dead, and strictly speaking the seat belongs to whoever the people of Massachusetts SAY it belongs to. I realize they like having a 60 seat supermajority (for all the good its done them), but talking about filling the seat in terms of hereditary succession isn’t exactly helping the case that the democrats are the new champions of change in Washington.

Then again they can hardly be blamed for panicking. The fact that the GOP (or rather the Tea Party mad hatters that now possess them) have been able to smell blood in the water in a state as blue as Massachusetts is a most evil omen, and losing the supermajority basically kills health care reform dead unless one or both of the Ladies from Maine can be seduced. This of course even assumes that the House can stomach the loss of the public option, and Pelosi’s got too much invested in her liberal base to give it up. With GOP candidate Brown favored to win nearly 3 to 1, and no republican likely being able to support the healthcare bill without having to leave the party entirely, barring divine intervention this is looking like a serious knee to the groin for Obama’s legislative agenda going into the State of the Union and will likely inflame liberals as much as the debate has so far inflamed conservatives.