Why the underwear bomber might hurt Democrats' health care plans 

Just prior to Christmas, word on the street was that Obama was going to push health care back past the State of the Union speech into February. The reason was two-fold. One, congressional Democrats need some time to get their act together on the legislation as the House was unlikely to accept the Senate bill as written. And two, the President and Congressional Democrats had taken a big hit in the polls with their obsessive focus on a tax-heavy and unpopular health care reform bill while they weren't doing anything about double-digit unemployement.

Supposedly, the plan was for the President to make what's called in political parlance a "hard pivot" on jobs in January. Obama was to start focusing on the economy and pushing a second jobs bill in the hopes of building up his political capital in the interim before returning to the contentious health care debate.

Good luck with your pivot now, Mr. President.

The media oxygen for weeks to come seems likely to focus on what even the President admits is a "catastrophic" national security failure. Even the liberal commentariat has increasingly harsh words for his administration's handling of the incident. It's doubtful that the President -- and by extension the Democratic Congress -- is going to emerge from the discussion untarnished in the eyes of American voters. And that might make moderate Democrats more skittish about health care reform.

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Mark Hemingway

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