Throughout the mad season of this past summer, the one thing that united the “tea party” movement — you know, apart from racism and conspiracy theories — was a concern for the deficit. Conservative commentators have gone as far as to peg it as the new conservative issue, despite the fact that Republicans have never helped the deficit, and the fact that Obama’s impact on it has thus far, comparatively, been rather small. With time, “the deficit” may have even become a rallying cry for a resurgent conservative movement, and a theme to unify Republican opposition to every move Obama made. Alas, it is not to be:
Reid made sure to emphasize a Congressional Budget Office estimate that the bill would reduce the deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years, and perhaps as much as $650 billion over the 10 years after that. He also worked to reassure worried seniors that the bill will not weaken Medicare — in fact, he argued, it will strengthen it.
It’s hard to argue against a bill that expands health care coverage to 94% of Americans while shrinking the deficit. The Republicans now face a tough choice: find a new reason to oppose healthcare reform (“socialism,” perhaps?), or simply pretend the CBO estimate never happened? My money’s on the latter.