WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, had a little political advice last week for President Obama and the Democrats: Don’t pass the president’s health care legislation because you would risk losing in the midterm elections.
Mr. Obama laughed about it afterward. “I generally wouldn’t take advice about what’s good for Democrats” from Mr. McConnell, he told an audience in Pennsylvania. But he conceded that “that’s what members of Congress are hearing right now on the cable shows and in sort of the gossip columns in Washington.” He went on to argue that the issue should be what’s right, not the politics.
But this is Washington and politics are never far from the surface, especially at a decisive moment like this. If the schedule being mapped last week holds – and Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, said on Sunday that it would — the fate of the president’s health care plan should be decided within the week. “I believe we will have” the votes, Mr. Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week,” though Republicans and even some Democrats have questioned whether the votes are there now.
But the plan’s fate could depend on how a couple dozen Democratic congressmen answer the questions Mr. McConnell and Mr. Obama raised: Would passing health care devastate Democratic chances in the fall? Would rejecting it devastate a Democratic presidency?
Mister Obama ... Tear Down This Wall!