It’s now or never, Democrats

History awaits to see if party of FDR is still up to the challenge

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We don’t like the phrase, “It’s now or never,” especially when it comes to the health reform battle. If legislation doesn’t succeed now, it doesn’t mean the nation’s health care system can never be improved.

Even with a complete failure by the Democrats, the system could conceivably gradually evolve into something better over time with incremental legislated improvements to the system. But we’re not at all convinced even that will happen, and even if it does, it will surely take another generation or two – or  longer, if the mid-term elections end up bouncing weak-kneed Dems out of office.

When will be there be enough evidence to convince Democrats that reform this year is critical? How much more evidence of our failing system do they need? Even the Wall Street Journal is now saying what is becoming more and more obvious: that our economy won’t be hurt by health reform; it will be hurt without health reform.

As Ezra Klein points out, this really is the Democrats’ window of opportunity. Jonathan Cohn wants to know whether the President will give them the shove they need.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken yesterday told the Administration to get off its butt. Even Sen. Ben Nelson, who has helped delay legislation as much as anyone, says that without reform, the national deficit will swell.

And really: will the Democrats’ legislation ever be good enough for Republicans? Based on compromises Democrats have already made and the fact that Republicans are still threatening to kill the bill, we suspect it’s a game Democrats can’t win.

The message to Congressional Democrats and our Democratic administration? You’re THIS CLOSE to failing. Miserably.

So yeah. It really is now or never.