Monday, January 18, 2010

Perils of ping-pong

Democrats are making it clear that a Coakley loss in Massachusetts will not derail health care reform -- the House will just "ping pong" the Senate bill. I think this is probably true. White House and Democratic leadership have shown a willingness to expend a tremendous amount of political capital on the bill, and at the end of the day Speaker Pelosi can probably muster the votes for passage.

The "we'll play ping-pong" message coming out of Washington today could demoralize Mass. Republicans, who were fired up by the idea that a win for Brown would kill the whole enterprise. And I assume this is part of the reason that we're hearing about it now -- as an attempt to tamp down at least some portion of Republican enthusiasm.

Just asking: Couldn't it also give Massachusetts Democrats less reason to turn out tomorrow? By all accounts, nobody is excited about Coakley. And if health care reform isn't truly in peril, why not sit this one out?

UPDATE [1/18 8:16pm] ... Why it is probably over for Coakley: Nate Silver says so. And why it might not be over for Coakley: Nate Silver says so.

1 comment:

Saxdrop said...

I think you could be right. Let's say for argument that this fact of a relatively assured passage cuts against both candidates equally. [In reality, its a game whose outcome is determined by which side plays deeper into the iteration of the mutual best response function.]

Then I think with that effect canceling each other out, the advantage goes to the "insurgent" candidate. Mass. republicans have more to prove and at least here in DC, conservative groups have been playing him up in force (money/volunteering).

That said, I dare not underestimate the effect of having Obama come up and campaign for Coakley.