Democrat Senator Kent Conrad says that the Ds in the Senate need R votes to pass health care reform.
Wait! Don't we recall that with the certification of Senator Stewart Smalley (D-Air America), the Ds have a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority and can pass all the long-awaited utopian legislation that the citizens long for? Is the problem that Senators Kennedy and Byrd are too infirm to show up for a vote? Is that the real health care scandal?
No, the situation is very different. Democrats facing re-election in any state that is not solidly and deeply blue are wary of casting votes for what will send taxes and deficits into historically ruinous territory. That's why Ds need R votes: so that they can share the blame.
Do Ds think that they can induce Rs to vote for their plan? Well, what would be the reason, even for RINOs like Senators Collins and Snow? (Not that they seem to need a reason to get their names mentioned appreciatively on the TV news programs that no one watches.)
The real work here is that Ds are laying the groundwork for blaming Rs for killing health care reform. This is the surest sign so far that the legislation is doomed and the most obvious clue to the obvious political strategy of the Ds going forward. The Republic is not safe until the last Republican has been rooted out and destroyed.
As this little drama unfolds, we are enjoying the spectacle of the Democratic Party's left wing (i.e. 80% of the party) wailing about the imminent squandering of their historic opportunity to remake American society. The Left knows that it has to work quickly before people get wind of what they're really up to, i.e., when people calculate the cost of fulfilling the promises. If the bills aren't passed before the reality sets in, the agenda is lost.
Obama's August deadline was all about that: pass this thing while people are on vacation, during what European journalists call the "silly season" when the media is filled with dumb stories about nothing that occupy space before the real work resumes in September and folks start paying attention to something other than their tans and their putting.