From the NYTimes:

Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said, “I think they woke up to the reality that this will have a direct negative impact on people’s lives.

“You know, it’s easy to talk about these things in the abstract. It’s another thing when you start taking away people’s college loans and Pell Grants or cutting early education programs.”

I watched 10 Tea Party freshmen members of Congress on Good Morning America this am (video above). When Diane Sawyer asked if any of them would give up their subsidized Congressional healthcare plans in line with their vision for repealing healthcare reform, only one said he would. The rest looked uncomfortable and had some lame excuses about supporting employer-provided healthcare. Sawyer pushed back and was basically like, um, not everyone has that. Yeah, cuz see that was kinda the point of healthcare reform — to deal with the painful realities we’re facing in this nation such as millions of people who have no way to pay for doctors or go bankrupt because they got sick.

It seems all the Tea Party rhetoric that got them into office is running smack into reality. Their so-called Pledge to America to cut $100 billion, well, that’s now been cut by half and I predict it will be cut by half & then half again before we’re through. Or maybe nothing will get actually cut. Sawyer also asked about cutting farm subsidies from which many of the Tea Party frosh also benefit — again, shrugged shoulders and downcast eyes. Punks. That Tea Party dog won’t hunt and it won’t make much tea either.

Lookahere: Barack Obama got a ton of landmark legislation passed through Congress during lame duck in a way no one has ever seen before, held a press conference, said “Obama OUT!”, then held the mic out horizontally, dropped it, and went to Hawaii. (Ok that didn’t really happen except in my mind…but would have been hot if he had.) He was able to do this in part because he’s worked hard to push for change in a way that reconciles with reality. And he’s successfully convinced thinking and feeling Republicans (and reluctant progressives) to live in the real world where people’s lives/jobs/homes/educations/etc are at stake right now.

The good news: I don’t think we have to worry too much about healthcare reform in the short term. President Obama still has the power to veto anything crazy (thank God) and just bounce the Tea Party’s turds right outta the White House. Still we’ll need to remain vigilant. House GOP leadership seems prepared to criss-cross, double-cross and use whatever dirty tricks they can to get what they want including use of an arcane, sinister-sounding procedure nicknamed the Demon Pass (shudder). But they’ll have to answer to you and me — the American people who live in the land of reality — first.

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