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HCR Summit: The Stage is Set for Reconciliation

Obama shows his cards.

5:31 PM, Feb 25, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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The message coming out of the health care summit is clear: President Obama and the Democratic leadership are planning one, last-ditch effort to restructure one-sixth of the economy by using the parliamentary tactic known as reconciliation. This jibes with Mike Allen's report from this morning. Obama is betting that Nancy Pelosi will find 217 votes to pass the Senate bill despite the public's disapproval.

Remember how the White House was going to pivot to jobs and the economy in 2010? Never happened. Instead, we face another four to six weeks of ferocious debate over health care reform, which isn't what you'd call a winning issue for the Democrats and Obama. What's more, the outcome is dicey -- the president is risking a lot of political capital by continuing to push for legislation that hardly anybody likes and that helped a Republican win Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

Bill Clinton's liberal majority didn't start falling apart until September 1994. By doubling down on reconciliation, by keeping health care the dominant issue when the public wants to focus on the economy, Obama may see his majority fall apart a whole lot earlier.

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