A reader writes:
This reader is bonkers:
"I'm with you in thinking that Obama is the best thing the Democrats have going for them right now. But I also think that in having the supermajority, they actually undercut him. They don't have to compromise and so they don't try to. Instead, what passes as legislation is a horrid mismash of corporate interests and traditional, not progressive, balms of the Democratic Party. I know this country can do much, much better. And I think Obama needs a less powerful Democratic party to make it happen, like Clinton did."
This is one of the most ignorant things I have read in a long time. The reason it took a year to pass health care, when it had been teed up well before Obama's inauguration, was because Democrats tried to get the GOP onboard. Remember the months and months of wooing Olympia Snowe? Obama's health care conferences? But the GOP decided to simply just vote no, because electorally that was their best bet.
And what your reader shows is that it works; by simply obstructing and voting no, they get people to believe that it was Democrats' fault nothing gets done, and that they should vote for the GOP, so that Dems will have to compromise. Bullshit. That's insane.
And let me remind your reader that the bill the Senate passed, and what appears to be the final bill, is exactly what Bob Dole, Bill Frist and many republicans, who looked at health care in good faith, advocated. No public option, deficit reducing, individual mandate insurance. For the love of God, convince that reader to vote for Coakley.
I'll try. First off, there's no compromise with the current GOP. They make Gingrich look like Pope John XXIII. If they got back majorities in the Congress, there will be no debt reduction; there will simply be nihilism until they can try to beat Obama in 2012.
Secondly, there's a lie masquerading as analysis going around. And that is that the health insurance bill is some sort of radical idea, fomented by "radical leftists", etc etc. This is propaganda. In fact, the final bill is exactly where a sane compromise is to be found: near-universal coverage; no single payer; no public option; reforms for pre-existing conditions and other injustices; cost control mechanisms; Medicare cuts; deficit reduction. 16 years after the Clintons tried, it's a more moderate bill. It was widely debated in the campaign. It isn't perfect. It needs work. But it's a start.
The blame for the delay lies fundamentally with a GOP that is still intent on putting power before country, and decided the day Obama took office that he was such a threat to their beleaguered brand that they would oppose everything he proposed, demonize him as much as possible, forgo any cooperation, and then try to blame him for the recession, the wars, the unemployment, and the debt he inherited ... while never actually proposing any serious alternative on any of them.
It is a nihilist, populist, primal scream. And if the Massachusetts result is interpreted as a vindication of that strategy, we will have thrown away a very rare constructive moment for targeted government action to tackle the deep problems - healthcare access and cost, too much reliance on carbon energy, an empire bogged down in two quagmires, a debt that will soon threaten this country's currency - in favor of news cycle, tactical Rovian bullshit.
The Dems have been incompetent and petty; the Republicans have been nihilist. The dawdling of the last few weeks is unforgivable. But Obama's attempt to produce reform through the center is the best chance we've now got. The last time I urged a vote for someone I found as dreadful as a candidate as Coakley was John Kerry. Because the alternative was so much worse.
So think of this as 2004. Are you really, really going to give Bush a second term because Kerry is so easily portrayed as an elitist hack? C'mon, Massachusetts Independents. Give the president the chance he needs. I know it sucks. But vote Coakley.