What does victory mean for the Democrats?
Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America’s finest presidents.
Even if this is [Obama's] high point, then, his presidency will have been pretty successful based just on his first year. But if he manages to grow in office and accomplish even more? Then he’ll be the most successful president of the past half century.
Although I’m skeptical about the workability of healthcare reform, there seems to be a pretty good case to be made that this was the biggest legislative victory for liberal Democrats since LBJ was president. It may sound strange, but there were only two Democrats in the White House after Johnson and before Obama. Did Carter or Clinton pass anything of this magnitude? Nothing comes to mind (although I’m no expert on their presidencies.)
Aside from the workability question, my gut says that it’s too early to celebrate Obama’s greatness because the fight has just begun. In contrast, Matt thinks that things will only get easier for the Democrats from here on out:
Coverage of the actual content of the bill is by necessity more favorable to the bill than the hokum that’s dominated the conversation thus far. After all, most of what people have been talking about is either straight-up lies—death panels—or hystical mewling about the death of freedom and the gulag. Any time you have medical doctors on television talking about new insurance rules, or newspaper writers drawing up charts showing what kinds of people will be impacted in which ways, you’re into the universe of sober-minded discussion.
I’m not so sure. Given how cynical Matt is about Republicans, shouldn’t he expect them to raise hell about the healthcare bill’s new taxes and Medicare cuts? Then again, perhaps the Democrats’ victory will usher in a new era of Light and Reason, in which the GOP forces of Lying and Hysteria will find themselves marginalized.