This is vintage Democrat strategy: If we pass a bad bill that the right hates (which, in this instance, they actually have good reasons, unlike most of the reasons expressed when the idea was first introduced early last year) and many moderates and several noted Liberals also hate, it will help us!
Kuttner: Well, it's so far from what I think is necessary that I don't think it's a it's a good bill. But I think if it goes down, just because of the optics of the situation and the way the Republicans have framed this as a make-or-break moment for President Obama, it will make it easier for the Republicans to take control of Congress in 2010. It will make Obama even more gun-shy about promoting reform. It will create even more political paralysis. It will embolden the Republicans to block what this president is trying to do, some of which is good, at every turn. So I would hold my nose and vote for it. . . .
Moyers: Aren't you saying that in order to save the Democratic president and the Democratic Party in 2010 and 2012 you have to have a really rotten health insurance bill?
Kuttner: Well, when you come down to one pivotal moment where a bill is before Congress and the administration has staked the entire presidency on this bill and you're a progressive Democrat are you going to vote for it or not? Let me put it this way, if I were literally in the position that Joe Lieberman is in and it was up to me to determine whether this bill live or die, I would hold my nose and vote for it even though I have been a fierce critic of the path this administration has taken. . . .Not Really. Passing a good bill, and articulating and selling to the country why it is a good bill, will help Democrats.
Recognizing a bad bill, and refraining from passing it simply for the "sake of getting something done" (thereby not also playing into Republicans charges that Democrats believe more bad or questionable government is better than less government), while selling what they are trying to do and why, will help Democrats.
Passing a bad bill will hurt Democrats.
Just not in "Democrat Strategy World." Which is kind of like Wayne's World. Only dumber.
In fairness to Kuttner, the above analogy may not apply to him, since what he said was: "Well, it's so far from what I think is necessary that I don't think it's a it's a good bill." This could be read a lot of ways, but it's possible he still believes the bill is a net improvement, just minimally relative to what the thinks it could or should do.
We don't. We think it is a bad bill.
And a lot of people agree.