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I’ve spoken slightingly on this site of State Senator Jane Cunningham’s stand on health care reform:

[I]f you can’t build on last year’s lunacy, you’re a shark that doesn’t keep moving: politically, you’re dead. So now Cunningham has promised:

to sponsor a state constitutional amendment to protect Missourians “against attempts to socialize health care through the ‘public option’ health care mandate currently under consideration by Congress.”


Her proposition would put us among the dozen looniest states in the country.

I figured, why not have fun at her expense? After all, such a challenge ignores the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. The first judge it went to, in whatever podunk district, would laugh it out of court. But our laughter might be premature. No, I’m not saying that such a challenge will get anywhere in the legal system. But consider this:

Those who argue that these challenges have little legal merit are missing a larger point.  This strategy is first a political one, and only secondarily aims to change the course of the short-run health care debate.

First, given the pace of implementation, the Presidential election of 2012 becomes pivotal.  A change of administration that year would likely cripple implementation, perhaps fatally.  Campaigns being developed now are largely geared toward building a base of activists for 2012.

Even if they are unable to unseat Obama, Republicans see health reform as a wedge issue they can use to regain control of Congress.  Failing that, by defeating some vulnerable and prominent supporters of reform, opponents hope to create a chilling effect that will dampen the willingness in Congress to pursue further reform.

What this means for reform supporters is that-far from final negotiations curtaining the show-a new act in the saga of U.S. health care reform  is about to begin.

Uh oh.