The lines being drawn in this healthcare drama are becoming clearer to me and raising some important political questions. I know there are substantive policy differences and fears about giveaways to Big Pharma and Big Insurance and Big Bigness. Folks are rightly concerned about cost controls and competition and mandates.

But I want to focus on some political points. Because the politics are often (perhaps even usually) more important than the policy.

To those calling for the Senate bill (which isn’t final) to be killed

  1. How will Democrats look to others after sweeping into office only to shoot themselves in the foot less that one year later? Could Democrats really be taken seriously? “Hey, Democrats. How’s that climate legislation going? Oh wait, you choked at the last second!”
  2. Former DNC Chair Howard Dean has gone to extraordinary lengths to publicly destroy what is currently in the Senate. Both on television and in the Washington Post, he has said Kill The Bill. Could you ever imagine former RNC chairs Ken Mehlman or Ed Gillespie doing such a thing to Bush? Saying that his tax cuts weren’t big enough and didn’t last long enough and so we just have to scrap them and start over.
  3. When Bill Clinton was gutting welfare, sending black men to prison in droves, selling out America’s laborers in the name of globalization or laying the groundwork for our current economic collapse, did we see former DNC chairs Ron Brown or Paul Kirk publicly advocating against these policies? I honestly don’t know, but I seriously doubt it.

It just looks bad. I’m not an apologist for insurance companies, Joe Lieberman or any other entity that stands in the way of good ideas becoming law. Nor am I a fan of blind followership. Perhaps Obama would have less of a cleanup job had more Republicans halted his insanity. However, from a political perspective, Democrats asking for this Democratic healthcare bill to be killed look extraordinarily silly. The voices of so many Democrats expressing such exasperation so publicly and so soon into this administration seems amazing to me.

I also don’t hear any “re-entry” strategy, if you will. Say that Democrats vote down their own bill. When in this magical future are we supposed to get that more perfect bill? After 2010? 2015? 2020?  This just doesn’t make much sense to me.

For those who say, “but there are serious corporate giveaways.” Name me a bill that makes it through the United States Congress that doesn’t have major corporate giveaways! It’s how this system works. You can argue that the system is rotten, and we need campaign finance reform, and those are great points, but they have very little to do with the politics of the present moment. The politics of the present moment demand that those on the left who’ve fought for health care reform support this bill and build on that foundation in the future.

For those who say, “but I didn’t vote for Lieberman and Nelson!” True. I hate Lieberman as much as any other person of principle. He should be dealt with in the future, but he’s there now. And the time is now to get something passed.

Again, I’m arguing politics here. Not policy. A policy post will likely come later, but I can’t for the life of me see how the Democrats ever get taken seriously if they sabotage their own bill.

Please correct me if I’m missing something.

Related Posts with Thumbnails