Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whose Waterloo is This?

OK, here you go.

The historic Health Care Reform Bill was signed by President Obama Tuesday. It has to go back to the Senate for 'fixes' and depending on what happens there, will either go back to the House or to the President to be signed.

Supposedly, there are citizens who are 'outraged' by the passage of this bill. For the record, I've not met or talked to any. I've seen them on television. They have been seen yelling, fomenting, getting personal and otherwise showing the seamy underbelly of American society.

On occasion, I've heard arguments from Republican politicians who have pleaded with the Administration to 'start over'. But ultimately, one of the reasons I believe it passed is because the more determined Democrats got, the more hysterical and mean HCR opponents got.


I really like Lawrence O'Donnell (and not just because he was a writer and producer of 'The West Wing'). O'Donnell was a U.S. Senate staffer, who now is a MSNBC analyst and sometimes fill in host. Few explain the political process better.

About 8 minutes into this clip, O'Donnell begins a critique of the HRC passed Sunday that, had the Republicans used this, may not have led to defeat of the bill, but certainly would have given reasonable pause to supporters who were not clear on the contents. It is so worth your time to watch this!

Instead of a reasoned, intelligent argument by the opponents of the bill, they adopted the language of their most rabid fringe element:

Death Panels







What did it lead to? According to former Bush speech writer David Frum...

"Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."

"It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

"(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now."

"So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

"A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves."

"At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994."

"Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure."

"This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none."

"Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994."

"Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law."

"No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?"

"We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat."

It may be convenient to continue to court the pleasure of an organization like the TEA partiers, who allow the extremists, hysterics and racists in their camp and then claim to be unable to control them. It may also be convenient to fail to challenge your own members when they show disrespect to their colleagues and even the President with pleas to everyone to understand that they are 'good people' simply caught up in the emotion of the issue.

But in the end, if you have the right argument you don't need these people.

They lead you to no place but Waterloo...


Chris said...

So are you eager to attend those end of life seminars every 5 years?

Anonymous said...

Are you looking forward for the government to have access to your bank account with the ability to make electronic treansfers?

Gerald Britt said...


I'm glad to see you've found company as you stumble along that road to wrong conclusions...

Anonymous said...

The AP reports that a retired couple may need $250,000 to pay for health care expenses during their retirment. Hope and Change.

Anonymous said...

You roll out another lefty (O'Donnell) to criticize conservatives? Really honorary Rev., what function does that serve? Its like your critiques of conservatives, it lacks credibility because of motive and agenda,
BTW, do you and your CDM cohort, subscribe to the same lefty talking points?