Democrats are far too preoccupied with how to ignore a defeat in Massachusetts, if it turns out that they lose. Do they try to delay Brown's arrival in the Senate? Do they try to push health reform through with reconciliation? Does the House pass the unamended Senate bill, avoiding the need for another vote?The answer is probably not.
Good questions, no doubt, and not easy to answer. There are pros and cons in each case. But it would be a great error for Democrats to concentrate on these tactical matters as though the scare, let alone outright defeat, in Massachusetts did not raise bigger questions. Coakley might still win, of course. (Nate Silver says the race is too close to call.) But even if she ekes out a narrow victory, Democrats urgently need to stop and think--not about how to cram through health reform while they can, but about why everything is going so wrong.(links in original)
Of course, I don't see Republicans learning anything either. The GOP has fielded a quality candidate in Scott Brown and he has made a race of it. But the question that should be asked is how much of his success is driven by the general GOP desire to break the filibuster proof majority in the Senate, than in putting forth a quality option to single party rule.
Brown has been made the poster child of the GOP for 2010 and if he wins, he will be exalted as a messiah. But, I haven't heard Brown posit any interesting or unique or even moderate alternatives to anything the Democrats are doing. Will the GOP learn lessons? Will Democrats learn lessons?
Sadly, probably not.