victory over once-believed shoo-in Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy's senate seat surely has many implications, but it may or may not affect whether the health care legislation is passed. The Democrats have a couple options to pass the bill (Times Online has a good analysis), which would not force them to face the filibuster, and their new inability to override.
Firstly, they could pass the Senate bill exactly as-is, meaning the same version of the bill would have been passed by both the House and the Senate, and send the bill directly to President Obama. Some are reluctant to do this because they have reservations about the Senate version of the bill.
Secondly, they could pass the Senate version of the bill, but then try to pass the house revisions in a budget reconcilliation bill, only needing 51 Senate votes. The Republicans have called this talk "back room dealing". The other options are to try to push a new version through before Brown is seated (not really an option) or convince Brown or Olympia Snow or another moderate senator to vote for the bill. According to Massachusetts Pro Life, Brown has a mixed record on abortion, and he voted in favor of Massachusetts own universal healthcare plan. That would seem to make him an easy sell on the bill, however, it's unlikely the Republicans will want to use their newfound power to pass the Dem's pet project, at least not without some haggling first.
What it really comes down to, though, is that public opinion has started to drift away from the bill, and as a result, the Democrats will end up looking pretty bad if they find a way to push it through without getting at least one Republican to vote for it. There are definitely some, shall I say...less pro-life Republicans senators out there, who have other issues with the bill besides the abortion restrictions. The Democrats would do well to listen to their concerns, try to make a bill that is palatable to a wider majority, and stop acting as though women's reproductive rights are the only thing that's not sacred in this debate.
Brown ran a heck of a campaign, and has a history of winning special election seats. The Democrats were overconfident, among other things, and dropped the ball.
What do you think about Brown's victory? What do you think this means for healthcare? Do you agree with me that since the Democrats have been so willing to compromise on my reproductive freedom, they should look for common ground on other issues as well?
And most importantly, what do you think of Brown's naked cosmo photos? Personally, I find them funny, but can't help being bothered that for a female candidate, past nude photos would threaten almost immediate disqualification for public office, but Brown's are seen as somehow folksy and charming.
Please weigh in!
NYTimes: GOP senate victory stuns democrats
NYTimes: Democrats regroup on health after losing seat
Jezebel: The morning after: Reactions to the mess in Massachusetts
Times Online: President Obama's five desperate options on healthcare reform