Diary

Tying the Health Care Debate to the Virginia Governor's Race

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzag says a health care bill can be completed in six weeks, based upon the Senate finance committee’s model.

Six weeks…that puts the due date right around the time of the election here in Virginia (and New Jersey). Naturally, this has tongues wagging that the success or failure of health care could depend upon the outcome of the gubernatorial contests here and in the Garden State.

The Journal’s Kimberley Strassel believes:

The Virginian’s problem is that [Creigh Deeds is] a little too important to party leaders. The Obama White House isn’t half as worried about what Virginia means for next year’s elections as it is what Virginia means for this year’s health fight. A wipeout in the Old Dominion could send Blue Dogs scampering for cover. If health care isn’t done by Nov. 3, it may not get done. Mr. Obama needs Mr. Deeds to win.

Back in August, the WaPo’s Charles Lane noted:

A lot can happen between now and election day, November 3. But I’d bet members of Congress, especially Democrats, are watching those two races for indications of Obama’s political strength and, by extension, the political advisability of backing him on health care. The latest polls must have sent chills down many a Democratic spine. And if the Republican leads hold up through the fall, Dems’ fears of winding up on the wrong side of public opinion can only grow.

Which all brings us back to…yes…Doug Wilder’s non-endorsement of Creigh Deeds.

As I wrote yesterday, Wilder only bets on sure things. That he’s refused to back Deeds, despite the pleas from the top of the Democratic pyramid, might indicate that he feels secure in dismissing both the President and the Governor because he sees them as politically weak, and getting weaker.

And as for the health care bill’s fate? It may be a bit of a stretch to say its fate hangs on the vote-moving power of Bob McDonnell’s thesis or Creigh Deeds’ yen for higher taxes. But far stranger things have happened…