Legislation & Politics

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As we’ve tried to take stock of what happened to Health Care Reform in January, one thing I keep coming back to is the way Democrats got completely focused on the legislative inside game and in many ways just withdraw from the out of doors political realm. To some degree that’s hindsight. And there’s certainly something to be said for having an election and then setting aside politics for a while to make a good bill which brings real change. But politics, legislation and policy can never really be divided. As we’ve seen, what happens in the country at large has big feedback effects on what happens on the Hill — as it should. And for all the things that couldn’t be predicted or came down to bad luck, this is the strategic, even conceptual error that Democrats made consistently over the course of the year.

On Chris Matthews show last night, Chuck Todd noted something relevant to this point — that Democrats have not done nearly as much as Republicans did organizing tough votes for the opposition party, to tease out their unpopular stand on numerous issues. That’s one of the biggest powers of the majority in the House — you get to decide what gets voted on.

Video after the jump …

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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