December 11th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Health care, Afghan war splits Democrats


Washington (CNN) - Health care reform is a signature issue for Democrats, but the attempt to overhaul the nation's health system has pitted liberals against centrists, exposing fissures 11 months before the 2010 midterm elections.

A year ago Democrats were united in victory after winning back the White House and picking up additional seats in Congress. But with victory comes expectations that are accentuated when a party controls both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

For Democrats, it is the party's political base - voters who turned out in 2008 to help elect Barack Obama president and boost the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate - which is demanding results.

Simply by the numbers, the health care overhaul should easily pass Congress. Democrats comfortably control the House of Representatives, and with the assistance of two Democratic-allied independents have the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

Related video: Will health care deal hold?

Except it is not about numbers on health care. It is about differences in ideology on the public option and abortion that has slowed down the bill.

Filed under: Democratic Party
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    Democrats are wrong on both counts. The current proposals from them on Health care will bankrupt the nation. And their willingness to let the Taliban win in Afghanistan endangers us all.

    December 11, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Randolph carter, I'm no expert but....

    When this watered down joke of a healthcare reform bill fails to bring down costs, the whole system will implode. I can't wait. unfortunately, everyone will blame Obama, but maybe then we'll finally get a single payer system like the rest of the civilized world. Look at the epic fail of unregulated capitalism last year. These are the guys you want running your healthcare? Keep your capitalism out of my healthcare, thank you very much. Have a nice day!

    December 11, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. a health economist

    I love the argument that people don't want their tax payer dollars to fund abortion, especially when the person making the argument isn't against abortion themselves. Because then I can ask the question "Does that mean you are against government employees from having abortions because their salaries are paid through tax payer dollars?"

    Most people can't think abstract enough to make that connection on their own.

    December 11, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. Scott, Tucson

    Amazing that there's still people out there under the influence of the obama Kool-Aid.

    December 11, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Steph

    Democrats may argue about the specifics of health care reform, but we will work together to get reform passed. We know how important this is, and contrary to what the far-right says, the majority of Americans want reform. Please, ask your friends today if they think it would be OK if they were diagnosed with a disease today and told tomorrow that they were being dropped from their insurance company. This happens every day in America. Is that really OK with you?

    December 11, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. trully complex questions

    and easy to cause a divide, not a surprise

    December 11, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Dutch/BadNewz, VA

    As a democrat I will say that the efforts being made by this government is moving the country forward rather than backwards. After 8 years of bad policies, now we finally have a government trying to push a positive agenda forward.

    December 11, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. barbara

    ALL people are for health care reform, dems and republicans alike. WE just dont like the kind of reform that nancy and harry THINK we should have. Everyone needs to remember that there ARE other ways to REFORM without tearing down the whole system and starting over. There ARE other ways to fix the problem without taking my money, my kids money and my grandkids money. The dems ONLY want to find the means by which to scare YOU into giving over your life in return for subpar health care. Its all about control over YOUR life. If you want the governement to tell you what you can and can not do (because its bad for your health) then by all means, give it up! Not me,...I still think that I know whats best for me and my health.

    December 11, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Action Now

    To all the Democrats and Republicans, support universal healthcare for all US citizens or you will be voted out of office and replaced with someone who will.

    Legislation based on donations from "healthcare for profit" is not pro-life, it's pro-profit at the expense of lives.

    December 11, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Chris D.

    The difference between LBJ, and Obama's senate majorities are simple......LBJ had 67 Democrats in the senate....Obama only has 60.
    With 67, LBJ could afford to lose 3-4 senators and still pass sweeping legislation. With 60, one must still compromise among the more moderate dems9which is good...dems are the only party w/ moderates now) and actually the only party governing, working for America....the other side has walked away..... I believe a bill will will not be what proggressives want entirely, however there is substantial reform in the bill.......
    We must remember what progressivism is.....Improving the country step by step, slowly bringing all americans with us in that progress......When you want everything your way or no way, then that's radical.........
    We get this bill passed, we now have a template for change......which is way more than us progressives have had in decades........

    December 11, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Kyle

    The fact that we can get more people behind an Afghan war than changing our health care system is just sad. Democrats and Republicans alike are no longer worried about the average person that elected them. They are more concerned with which decisions nets them more money in THEIR pockets. This country is becoming truly sad.

    December 11, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Until such time as the reublicans are able to assume a leadership role in this country, what happens within the democratic party is a non-issue.

    Sarah Palin is being touted as the GOP front runner by the media. As what happened in 2008, the media hasn't yet caught up with mainstream America. By promoting the tea baggers, the birthers, and other right wing fanatics, the real majority have been silently ignored. That isn't to say the majority of American's aren't paying attention.

    While the GOP has yelled, screamed, and tried to force their nonsence on the American people, President Obama has with calm determination carried the burdens of this country's disasters on his shoulders, bringing this country back from the brink of utter diasaster.

    Meanwhile at the RNC, nothing has yet been accomplished. Thus far, the media's leader of the GOP ... when not on tour promoting her book ... spends her time socializing on Facebook.

    December 11, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Mike1952

    Independents elected BO as they do all presidents today. If he ignores them for the next three years, as he has this one, he will be one and done. Those who call themselves liberal amount to 20% of the electorate. Most democrats are socially moderate and fiscally conservative. If he placates the far left he's done.

    December 11, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Tony T

    Looks like the liberal loons are losing it BIG TIME!!! More secret deals, no transparency at all, to try to beg for the minimum 60 votes. Just to pass anything to save face. Tax me for 4 years, so my costs can go up so someone else can get health insurance??? This is a good plan to these loons??? KILL THE BILL, start over.

    December 11, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Without a doubt, the 2010 mid terms are going to be disasterous for any democrat on the Obama bandwagon. 2010 is going to make 1994 look tame in comparison.

    December 11, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Linda

    If you think that Democrats are split now..........

    Just wait until Obama, Pelosi and Reid try to push for amnesty for millions of illegals the beginning of 2010-–when there are millions of US citizens without jobs.

    Based on numerous polls--the majority--including moderate Dems--do not want any form of rewards/accommodations/amnesty for illegals.

    Then, just wait until Obama/Democrat climate gate/EPA policies cause thousands to lose their jobs in the coal industry, factories, plants, manufacturing, etc.---those losing their jobs and having their lives destroyed will include Dems as well--a large majority of them even union members.

    A large number of moderate, voting Dems are going to stay home-just like they did in Virginia and New Jersey. It definitely does NOT look good for the Dems in 2010-–based on all recent polls--they are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    December 11, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |