A full scale panic such as what is happening in the Democratic Caucus right now has not been seen since the Supreme Court ruled on the 2000 presidential election. The level of intra party violence pits Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey against other Democrats in what is beginning to look like the mother of all political mud wrestling contests. Or maybe it's a pig wrestling contest because the objects of all of this effort are a few Blue Dog Democrats, a sub caucus itself fraught with strife and disagreement. Today the Blue Dog negotiators split four to three on the question of extending a final vote on ObamaCare until September.
The Energy and Commerce Committee will resume its markup of healthcare legislation Wednesday afternoon under a deal between Blue Dogs and House leaders, but there will be no floor vote on the legislation before August.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was in the negotiations speaking for President Obama.
"We cut the cost of the bill, delayed a floor vote and ensured that the public option will not be forced on anyone," said Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) who has led the negotiations for the Blue Dogs. "Members will have time to go home to talk to their constituents and actually read the bill."
....The deal split the seven Blue Dogs who had been threatening to block the bill. Waxman struck the deal with only four.
There are several things to take away from today's developments. First, and most important, is that there is a serious effort underway to manage expectations on the outcome of ObamaCare. That the president's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, was directly involved in negotiations that produced such a tepid result indicates that the Obama administration is very worried about the fallout from the failure of their signature policy initiative. Make no mistake; Emanuel is trying to stave off a monumental political collapse.
The expectations game being played by Democrats is a tacit admission of failure. It makes no sense for Democratic leaders to hold a vote after Labor Day because by then even a Republican Party in total disarray will have succeeded in exposing the legislation as flawed. The Democrats have forfeited the only potent political weapon they had: momentum. It was momentum that passed the Stimulus Bill and Cap & Trade. Hence the anger of the far Left at today's agreement. It robs them of the urgency they require to cram down bad legislation.