So, the Democrats did demonstrate tonight that they learned one very important lesson from 1993.
Not a lesson about how to pass health care reform, but a lesson about close House votes. I said in the earlier post that the it makes sense for the Dems to let the vote just barely squeak through the House. But not too just barely -- 219 votes is a lot better than 218. Why? Because at 218, each Democrat who votes yes can be portrayed as The Person Who Ruined Health Care (or Raised Your Taxes, or Took Away Your Liberty, or whatever they're going to say).
As it turned out, the Dems wound up with 220, but they couldn't count on the lone Republican.
Sure, in the grand scheme of things it probably isn't going to cost anyone an election to give an extra rhetorical point to their opponents. On the other hand, who needs it?
Those who remember 1993 will recall that Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky was the poster child for 218; she was a new Member from Pennsylvania, and became known as the 218th vote for the Clinton economic plan; she subsequently lost for re-election in the 1994 landslide. If I remember correctly, she actually wound up casting the vote that put the Dems over the top...I'm not certain, but I think tonight the Dems allowed someone ceremonial to cast the 218th vote. If they didn't, they should have.