12: 42 A.M: I’ll update this post as things develop, rather than have tons of posts about the subject.

9:08 A.M.: Most people are pretty sure the thing will pass. It’s assumed that the Democrats wouldn’t bother to vote on it if they thought it wouldn’t.

9:17 A.M.: Lots of sites are calling this vote “Historic” or “History Making”, which suggests to me they think it will pass. Bills that don’t pass usually don’t get much mention in the history books.

9:25 A.M: The chairman of the Democratic caucus says they have the votes. I’ve never heard of this guy; usually when they’re counting the votes, they ask the Whip, James Clyburn. It’s fun to blog about politics when you have no idea how it works.

11:52 A.M: Going by headlines, the Democrats either have the votes or “hope they have the votes”. There’s not much difference, except for all the difference in the world. But hey, hoping for change was what Obama promised and sure enough, it happened!

1:41 P.M: According to Huffington Post, it’s practically over.

1:44 P.M: Or maybe not. Their headline doesn’t seem to match their story.

4:41 P.M: It looks like it’s pretty close to a done deal that it’ll pass.

7:58 P.M: For what it’s worth, though, Republicans may have some other plan to stop stuff in the Senate. Or something. I can’t stand to learn any more obscure Parliamentary rules, though.

10:49 P.M: “Alea iacta est.”

…and health care does, in fact, pass, the obvious question is: does it relate in any way to Obama being the most charismatic guy in Washington? (Okay, maybe that’s only obvious to folks who regularly read this blog.)

Frankly, I don’t think the bill’s fate actually relates to Obama’s charisma that much; most of what he’s doing involves persuading other politicians, who I suspect have developed immunity to charisma because of high exposure to it over the course of their careers.

You may ask: “Why is Obama constantly going around making speeches about health care? We get it, Obama. Now please do some other President-type stuff.”

This constant stumping for health care reform is allowing for charges that Obama is a narcissist who loves to hear himself talk about these issues. It also makes him look like he’s got everything riding on health care, which means that it makes him look bad if it gets defeated. Why, people ask, won’t he quit talking about it and let Congress sort it out?

The reason is that Obama–more specifically, Obama’s charisma–is the Democrats only asset at this point. It is a great asset–but, as I’ve often said, you can’t transfer charisma. It seems to me that it can help you get elected–it almost guarantees it, in fact–and it can give you all sorts of power; but it can’t really make people like things that they aren’t predisposed to like. It makes for an eminently electable politician–so, from a career point of view it’s a great asset–but it’s not all that is required for endless legislative victories.

This is where the Elway analogy comes in. He was a great Quarterback, yet for much of his career, his Broncos came up short in the big game. They were mediocre teams, yet he was able to drag them into having some success, but never a Championship.

It’s very valuable to have a great Quarterback. You can get pretty far with that and nothing else. But you can’t get it all with just him. Elway finally won two rings late in his career when Denver finally got him a good running back in Terrell Davis, and a good coach in Mike Shanahan. Perhaps someday Obama will get a good supporting cast.

Unless Obama is somehow involved, the Democrats do not have the ability to pass health care. Their only hope is to let him use his natural charisma to persuade voters that it’s a necessary reform–but, as I’ve said, charisma can only get a person elected–I don’t know if it can actually change peoples’ minds on an issue.