The short answer is, I don’t know, but probably. There are a couple of possible scenarios under which some kind of hcr legislation might still be passed, although it seems one is being ruled out already — to hustle and get a vote on a bill before Brown is sworn in. That’s not going to happen.
The other possibility is that the House would pass a bill identical to the Senate version, which I understand would allow the Senate to go through the procedural nonsense that requires 60 votes. They could then pass the bill with 51 votes. This is probably our only real hope, but the more progressive members of the House say they won’t vote for that bill.
Then there’s the reconciliation option, but I understand that only bits and pieces of the hcr bill could be passed that way, not the whole bill.
We’re already hearing from DINOs like Evan Bayh that the reason Coakley lost is that the Dems moved too far to the left, and they’d better hustle their butts back to the right. That’s going to be conventional wisdom, folks. Count on it.
Peter Daou has a more measured analysis of why the Dems are coming apart at Huffington Post. The whole piece is interesting, but this is worthy of special note:
The single biggest reason Obama’s hope bubble burst is because of the unintended convergence of left and right opinion-making. The cauldron of opinion that churns incessantly on blogs, Twitter, social networks, and in the elite media generates the storylines that filter across the national and local press, providing the fodder for public opinion. Stalwarts of the left, dedicated to principles not personalities, hammered the administration; couple that with the partisan criticisms from conservatives and libertarians, and the net effect was to alter conventional wisdom and undercut Obama’s image and message.
I would say this message isn’t just for President Obama, but all Democrats in Washington. The Democratic Party needs to realize that the foot-dragging of people like Max Baucus (who held hcr up in his finance committee for many long weeks, thereby delaying its passage), Ben Nelson, and Evan Bayh is devastaging to the long-term prospects of the Democratic Party. These guys may be doing what they need to do to win re-election in very conservative states, but in doing so they are killing the Dems’ chance to re-brand itself as a party that can actually do something useful.
The Dems had a small window of opportunity to prove that it really does matter which party one votes for, and that most folks are better off with them, and they blew it.