Framing The Debate

by Patrick Appel

Ambinder sums up the current state of affairs:

The two arguments are these: the White House contends that the bill is a foundation -- and will meaningfully improve the lives of 30 million people without insurance -- and represents the greatest advance for American health care since LBJ and Medicare. The activist left, broadly, has come to the view that the Senate (and the White House) are held hostage by the forces to whom we've outsourced our health care: the insurance industry, who've just received a massive subsidy in exchange for minimal sacrifices.

The truth, of course, is that both of these arguments are valid. Which one you accept is a matter of taste, preference, mental furniture, ideological commitment, geography.

Beyond this, though, it's a matter of respect: liberals aren't feeling the love. They feel taken for granted. They feel as if the president hasn't done enough to bring them into his coalition. They projected a lot onto candidate Obama, and -- for a variety of reasons, some valid -- don't see the same guy. It is as if Obama's approach to governing assumes that the only influential audiences are the ones he has to court. The White House is looking for ways to palliate the anxiety.