Obama and the 'Nuclear Option' in Congress
In the Cold War over health care reform, the Democrats could end up paying a high price for ruling by “reconciliation.”
The tea party movement, the mainstream media and savvy Republicans have already had a field day portraying Democrats as uncompromising, incapable of governing and unwilling to listen to the American people on priority issues—like jobs and unemployment. Any move that can be used to crystallize this image of Democrats will be the perfect campaign weapon to reverse the majorities we see in Congress.
Even if Democrat majorities are not completely reversed in either house this year, the changes could be enough that conservative Democrats and Republicans could begin working together to take a new legislative direction—perhaps one where the "nuclear option" is reconsidered to repeal any unpopular portions of this current health care proposal. "Pushing the button" for reconciliation would yield additional fallout for the players in Washington, including the health care reformer in chief.
Considering the amount of political standing President Obama has invested in this battle, any move to further drive those in the political middle away from supporting the White House will only make 2012 that much harder for the president regardless of whom the presidential candidate is from the GOP. Obama’s signature on this partisan legislation puts his fingerprints on "the nuclear button" of another reconciliation process by a desperate majority in Congress—a move that may convince the nation to reverse direction just a few years after voting for "hope and change."
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the author of the book, Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative). He is featured regularly on outlets including CNN, Fox News and XM Radio. Follow him on Twitter.