December 15, 2009
According to today’s New York Times, the Medicare buy-in has walked off the plank blindfolded. Joe Lieberman, with his eye patch and hook-hand, has seen to that.
The goal of the Democratic Party, of which I am a sometimes proud and sometimes peeved member, seems to be getting a health care care bill passed in 2009. A health care bill. That most emphatically does not mean the same thing as a health care bill progressives can celebrate.
Does President Obama have a crystal ball that told him this really is the best we could have hoped for at this time, in this political climate? If the answer is no, why was he so willing to keep lowering the bar on this bill, as if he and the Congress were playing some kind of political limbo game? Picture Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), with his head bent back as far as it could go when he said today that liberals are deciding to “weigh on balance what remains.”
What does remain? The bill will do a lot of uninsured people a lot of good, but unfortunately it will not break the powerful hold of the insurance companies on the American public. So is it really, as Durbin said, “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to pass this bill?
That remains to be seen. John Nichols of The Nation says it’s not real reform. I agree with him. MoveOn.org is asking its members to 1) call Barack Obama and ask for a public option, and 2) donate money to fight against Joe Lieberman’s re-election. I find their first suggestion naive and their second off-target. Getting revenge isn’t at the forefront of my mind right now.
What’s running through my head is, “How did this all happen? Was this a case of terrible mismanagement by the Democrats, incredible bullying by the Republicans, or a mixture of both? As Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) said today, “the system is what the system is.” Sad but pragmatic.
I guess that’s why I like most true Democrats; they’re philosophical rather than aggressive. But maybe if the progressives had been more aggressive, we could have manipulated the system so that what remains could have been . . . well, more.
Next time we get the chance (like maybe when this “reform” fails), let’s fight for single-payer as if we were fighting for our lives. I know many people have done that this time around, and they are the ones I feel for today. We, or at least I, didn’t do enough to help them.
Lesson learned, at great cost.