“It’s one thing to be serene under fire, it’s another to be delusional,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
“More than a few Democrats in Congress are perplexed and worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insisting on ramming through a 1,900-page health care bill on Saturday, just days after her party took heavy losses in Tuesday’s elections. ‘It reminds me of Major Nicholson, the obsessed British major in the film “Bridge on the River Kwai,” ‘ one Democrat told me. ‘She is fixated on finishing her health care bridge even as she’s lost sight of where it’s going and what damage it could cause to her own troops.’
“Indeed, the speaker’s take on Tuesday’s off-year elections struck some of her own members as delusive ‘happy talk.’ ‘From our perspective, we won last night,’ a cheerful Ms. Pelosi told reporters, citing her party’s pickup of a single House seat in a New York special election and retention of another strongly Democratic seat in California.
“That’s not how many of her own troops see it. Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama told Politico.com that members are ‘very, very sensitive’ to the fact that the agenda being pushed by party leaders has ‘the potential to cost some of our front-line members their seats.’
“On health care, added New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell: ‘People who had weak knees before are going to have weaker knees now.’
“Ms. Pelosi, however, apparently thinks the moment is ripe to use sheer political muscle to pass legislation reordering one-sixth of the economy, with zero Republican support. The right mixture of ‘incentives’ and Rahm Emanuel-style pressure, she believes, will bring enough Democrats to heel to vote for the bill.”
“The stated No. 1 priority for Democrats is passage of a government takeover of American health care,” James C. Capretta notes in a blog at www.nationalreview.com.
“President Obama and his allies in Congress have essentially bet the future of their party on securing something radical and sweeping. Congressional leaders have set aside everything else until they can pass some version of Obamacare, and they have pledged to do whatever is necessary - taxpayers beware - to reach their goal,” Mr. Capretta said.
“But theres apparently one thing most Democrats arent willing to do, even if it jeopardizes their health care ambitions. And thats back down on their unwavering commitment to abortion radicalism.
“For months, pro-life Democratic [Michigan] congressman Bart Stupak has warned Democratic leaders that he and a sizeable bloc of like-minded colleagues would vote against the Democratic health care bill in the House if it didnt clearly and unambiguously preclude taxpayer funding of elective abortions in a reformed system of subsidized health insurance.
“This should be a no-brainer for House Democratic leaders. Giving Rep. Stupak what he wants - which is a clean vote on a no-funding-for-abortion amendment - would remove one more roadblock on their way to the nirvana of government-run health insurance.
“But Speaker Pelosi apparently sees a big problem with that approach, which is that Rep. Stupak would very likely win, perhaps cementing for good in permanent law a strong prohibition against taxpayer funding of abortions in a national health care plan. To abortion radicals, thats simply too much to stomach.
“So instead of giving in to Stupak, House Democratic leaders are apparently working overtime on another course of action, which is to try to divide the Stupak bloc and pick off enough of his fellow Democrats with minor tweaks to the existing bill to allow passage.”
“Did Republicans win so many of the elections on Tuesday because of their conservative base or because they went beyond it? The answer to both questions is yes,” Republican political consultant Alex Castellanos writes in the New York Times.
“In some places in 2009, it was enough to not be a Democrat, just as it was sufficient for Barack Obama to be an alternative to President George W. Bush in 2008. In Greensboro, N.C., an unknown 70-year-old conservative who has never held elective office beat the incumbent mayor, the first such defeat there since 1973. Message to Republicans: When only 20 percent of Americans self-identify as Republicans, it is not our brand voters are buying. Its the other guys brand they are rejecting,” Mr. Castellanos said.
“Republicans won, fundamentally, because President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Washington have re-branded themselves as the party of economic irresponsibility. In New Jersey, where the Republican, Chris Christie, won the governorship, 57 percent of voters said the economy and taxes were the top issues. In Virginia 60 percent said the same - and Bob McDonnell, the Republican governor-elect, won economic voters by 15 percentage points. As my friend James Carville might now say, ‘Its the economy, again, stupid.’ ”
“Credit Mississippi Governor and former Republican Party National Chairman Haley Barbour and the Republican Governors Association he runs for helping push Republicans into the victory column in the two gubernatorial races this year,” several GOP and conservative insiders told Paul Bedard of the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.
” ‘This was a huge victory for Haley and just the start of what could be a very big year next year,’ said an ally and GOP lobbyist. The RGA was heavily involved in the races, especially in New Jersey, as it tested out an election plan that will go into full force next year when Democrats will be trying to hold on to 22 seats, compared with 16 for the Republicans. …
“And other GOPers told us not to leave out Ed Gillespie, the former national and Virginia GOP chairman who was a key adviser to Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell.”
“A majority of Americans now see President Barack Obama as governing from the left,” the Gallup polling company reports at www.gallup.com.
“Specifically, 54 percent say his policies as president have been mostly liberal while 34 percent call them mostly moderate. This contrasts with public expectations right after Obama’s election a year ago, when as many expected him to be moderate as to be liberal.
“This finding comes from a USA Today/Gallup survey, conducted Oct. 16-19, which offers several indications that Obama’s public image has changed since his election last November. Much of that change is inauspicious for Obama,” the polling firm said.
• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or email@example.com.