One Crazy Way Health-Care Reform Could Fail

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Photo: Courtesy of Martha Coakley

It's not enough that Democratic leaders still have to figure out how to reconcile two health-care-reform bills — with eleven pages' worth of discrepancies — that passed by the thinnest margins in both the Senate and House. Now they're facing the possibility, however remote, of outright losing their 60-seat majority in the Senate before the final vote, leaving them unable to stop a filibuster.

That's because a new Rasmussen poll out of Massachusetts — which is holding a special election to replace Paul Kirk, Ted Kennedy's temporary fill-in, on January 19 — shows the Republican candidate, State Senator Scott Brown, trailing the Democratic candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley, by just nine points. There are plenty of reasons for Democrats to not worry about this poll — including Rasmussen's reputation for a GOP bias, the difficulty in accurately polling a special election, the state's overwhelmingly Democratic tilt, and Coakley's vast fund-raising advantage — but, still, it's fascinating to ponder the possibility of health-care reform ultimately failing because Massachusetts voters replaced its longtime champion, the Liberal Lion, with a Republican.

Reform at Stake in Massachusetts [TPM]
Rassachusetts: Why a Poll May be Terribly, Horribly Wrong -- And Why Democrats Should be Worried Anyway [FiveThirtyEight]
Is the Massachusetts Senate race getting closer? [Fix/WP]