Hold Your Breath/Rocky Passage

The Hill claims the Democrats are two votes shy of a health care “win.” Read:

Hours before a scheduled vote on healthcare reform, Democratic leaders don’t have the votes.

The decisions of two Tennessee Democrats, Reps. John Tanner and Lincoln Davis, to vote no has put President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her lieutenants in a major bind.

If every member votes, Democratic leaders can only afford 37 defections. According to The Hill’s whip list, there are 39 Democrats planning to vote no.

If this thing fails, then good for the country — because this is no reform bill. It’s a simple takeover, based on the premise of throwing everybody into the same boat. And then poking holes in the hull.

If this thing fails, then bad for the country, too — because we’d be facing something I think unprecedented in American history: A three-year lame duck President.

Better a lame duck than Unreconstructed Obama, maybe. But that’s not saying much.