The use of "meter questions" on The Chris Matthews Show has always seemed like a waste of time, because the questions are generally framed in such a way as to divide the responses down partisan lines. And the responses to today's meter question "With Arlen Specter joining the Dems, will health care pass?" did have a curious partisan divide...though not the one you might expect.
Overall, Matthews' panel of pundits narrowly agreed 7 to 5 that Universal Healthcare would be done this year, something with which Matthews agrees. The lone dissenter on the panel this week was putative "liberal" Joe Klein, who, like the scorned girlfriend, has been down this road before with other presidents and just cannot believe that it's possible to get Universal Healthcare passed.
And as much as it kills me to agree with Kathleen Parker--and it really, really does--she's right that Universal Healthcare is a foregone conclusion. It's politically untenable for the Republicans to put up too much of a fight (sell-out Democrats notwithstanding)and the Obama administration has done a good job of tying healthcare to our collective economic recovery.
However, it's interesting to note that all of the pundits completely ignored the framing of the question, which was to weigh heavier Specter's defection to the Democratic Party to the success of passing health care reform. Obviously, despite all the bloviating in the punditocracy over Specter changing sides of the aisle, ultimately, he's not seen as Obama's ace in the pocket. Given his statements this morning, they're probably right.