Is Obamacare doomed?

Michael Barone makes a good argument that it is. Sen. Kent Conrad’s remarks cast serious doubt on the plausibility of using reconciliation in the Senate, and Pelosi just doesn’t have the votes:

In November Pelosi had 220 votes for the House bill. The one Republican is now a no, one Democrat has died, one resigned last month and another turned in his resignation Friday. That leaves her with 216, one less than the 217 she needs.

There is another problem. The Senate bill lacks the amendment sponsored by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak banning abortion coverage, and Stupak says that he and about 10 other Democrats accordingly will vote no. That leaves Pelosi around 205. She may have commitments from former no voters to switch to yes (especially from three who’ve announced they’re retiring), but she doesn’t have more than 10 other votes in her pocket or she wouldn’t have accepted the Stupak amendment.

So the House wants the Senate to go first and pass changes to its bill through the reconciliation process that requires 51 rather than 60 votes. But Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad says you can’t use reconciliation on a bill that hasn’t already become law. And reconciliation is probably not available on abortion issues.

Jennifer Rubin seems to concur, calling the talk of reconciliation a “dodge”:

Reconciliation has been the buzzword of late, but it is becoming apparent that it’s a dodge intended to keep the hopes of the liberal base alive and to force the House to go first, which then might produce some magic key to unlock health care. But if the Senate budget chair is forcefully calling foul on the process, what then is the point of the House vote? According to Conrad, whatever the House came up with will have to go back and be put through the normal legislative process, subject to the filibuster.

Well, as with so much else on ObamaCare, one has the sense that this is a charade. No bill, no clear process, no public support, and no House majority. Had the summit been the breakthrough moment the Obami had hoped for maybe a groundswell of support could have shaken the pieces loose and then sharp deal makers could have sifted among the debris and constructed an ObamaCare III or whatever they would have called it. But the summit was a bust for the Democrats, and we’re talking specifically about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who proved to be just as unlikeable and ineffective as many suspected.

But Obama the Magical was nowhere to be seen. In his place was Obama the Annoyed.

Read the rest of Barone and Rubin.