It remains far easier to obstruct commonsense reform on Capitol Hill, than to bring it to an actual vote. Though I’m hopeful that the Health Care Bill will pass, I’ll admit that it’ll be a relief just to see some resolution. A yes vote, for most Americans, means moving on to the process of evaluating what works, and what doesn’t work in the current package; and then moving on to financial reform.
For the right wing, that means moving on from legislative obstruction to judicial obstruction on health care, and in Congress, from health care obstruction to yes, obstruction of financial reform. I think we can see the pattern here. The “Party of No” has “no” plans to do anything until they see if voters will blame Democrats for the stasis in November.
Michael Bennett also sees the pattern clearly enough, and this is part of the reason I’ll be supporting him at the precinct caucus tonight. Bennett, who has most definitely NOT adopted the Blue Dog “duck and cover” strategy, has been active in trying to revive the public option, but has also been outspoken about the cynical filibustering in Washington. Now he’s proposed a very interesting plan for reform of the Senate. Naturally, there’s a likelihood that the GOP will see this issue too, as an occasion for obstructionism.
Nor is there any guarantee that Bennet, who was appointed to his seat after Ken Salazar joined the Obama Administration, will even be around to pursue reform. Andrew Romanoff, who has an impressive resume of his own after the Democrats took over the State House in 2006, has gotten a huge jump in organizing, and appears to be leading in polls.
Bennett, who’s impressed party big wigs, and drew an Obama appearance at the Fillmore on Colfax for a fundraising event last month, appears to have benefitted from the Obama organization’s expertise in caucuses. Media coverage and Facebook buzz appear to be high, and I don’t doubt the caucus attendance will be unusually high (The Squish regularly attends Presidential-year cacuses, but this is the first time I can recall getting motivated for an off year caucus).
The caucus straw poll is non binding, and even if he loses, Bennett can still beat Romanoff in the primary. But the Faux News pundits will be sniffing for blood in the results, and will almost certainly play a Bennett loss as a repudiation of health care, and filibuster reform. What it will be really, is a chance to put Republican Gayle Norton up against a non-incumbent Romanoff, and of course, another victory for obstructionism.