By “change course” I am referring to a call for a revised version. Is this statement as earth shattering as it sounds to me? Barney Frank (D-MA) released this statement following Brown’s win tonight. (Transcribed by me from MSNBC):
“I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in Congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform because I do not think that the country would be well served by the healthcare status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 votes are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process.”
I don’t know if Frank has said anything similar before, but this is the first I am hearing it. It sounds to me like at least some Democrats have gotten the message and don’t want to own this stinker of a health care bill. They have seen what the voters in even Massachusetts think about it and they don’t want to go down in flames over it. They want some bipartisan cover. This win gives them an “out.” That’s my take anyway.
Update: Philip Klein transcribed the Frank statement off of MSNBC, too, and has the same take I did on it. This is a big deal.