Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Benen for President

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Wise observers agree that health care reform might not have happened without the tireless work of my friend Steve Benen.

But I’d like to single out one person who deserves more praise than he’s going to claim or is likely to get: Steve Benen himself.  After Scott Brown won, Democrats’ first reaction was panic.  The analogy most often drawn, though it in retrospect seems deranged to compare the loss of a Senate super-majority to the loss of both Houses, was to Clinton’s situation, and his reaction, after the Republican victories of 1994.  Steve stepped in on January 20—just a day after Coakley’s loss, a full week before the State of the Union—with an alternative: “pass the damn bill,” and then amend it via reconciliation.  I believe he invented the slogan, though Kevin Drum picked it up a few hours later.  I know that he flogged it, immediately, relentlessly and repeatedly, through good news and bad: see, for example, herehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, andhere.  It became proverbial.  It became the popular title—and, thanks to alert fans, the easy-to-remember URL—of Steve’s pithy, powerful strategy memo making the case for moving forward.  It cemented Democratic opinion around the idea that failure was not an option—and, more important, that incremental reform counted as failure.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

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