If [GOP pollster Bill] McInturff is correct, and I believe he is, Democrats would face an uncomfortable trade-off. They could try to pass a bill they desperately want and one that would please base voters. But in doing so, they would give Republicans more ammunition to use against them, possibly solidifying the GOP’s hold on independents and swing voters.
Failure to pass a health care bill is the single worst outcome possible for Democrats. Unfortunately for party leaders, passing a bill using reconciliation looks like a very close second.
Rothenberg also repeats a point from McInturff that the Louisiana Purchase and Cornhusker Kickback were absolutely toxic to an already skeptical public. This morning I chatted with Ovid Lamontagne, a Republican businessman who’s running for Senate in New Hampshire. He repeated a commonsense observation from a Granite State waitress about those special deals: “Any bill that people have to be bribed into voting for can’t any good.”