Signs were more than clear last August during Congressional recess that amidst the health care debate and seething town hall meetings, reform, as Democrats defined it, was being poorly received.
Town hall meetings and tea party demonstrations -- many in Massachusetts -- threw fuel on the fire.
It was not a hard message to read. The time to pass health care was then or never. Then rising unemployment, more terror --and no reform. Holiday recess -- no reform. Earthquake in Haiti -- no reform. Sen. Paul Kirk still a voting member -- no reform.
What will it take to put something up for a vote?
It took the Massachusetts Senate race, if that even does it. The balance of health care reform passage would not hang on Martha Coakley unless Washington had made it so. Tin political ears have led to this quagmire as much as the handful of weeks between Coakley's primary win and today.
According to the New York Times, "Plan B would be to try to persuade House Democrats to approve the health care bill that the Senate adopted on Christmas Eve, obviating the need for an additional Senate vote and sending the measure directly to President Obama for his signature." Then there is still the option of passing health care through the budget reconciliation process: not so germaine, but it only requires only 51 Senate votes.
The best shot they have is for the House to vote on and approve the bill exactly as approved by the senate already with no changes. If they can do that (not that easy for Pelosi) then they don't need to have another 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Barring that, it is not clear how they can get it done. Not for lack of trying, but perhaps for trying without accepting or hearing the public will.