Douthat explains his opposition to the health care bill:
[In Chait’s view, and the view of many liberal pundits when] the Republican Party is bereft of ideas, and the Democratic Party is flush with them, the thing for serious people to do is get with the liberal program, and spend our time either flogging Sarah Palin and John Boehner or rallying support for the right-of-center elements in left-of-center bills. They’re disappointed that I’m not inclined to that approach, which is fair enough. But I’m disappointed, too.
I look at liberal commentators and see a group that’s intent on being on-side against Republicans, and that’s willing to downplay significant weaknesses in major legislation (be it the stimulus, cap-and-trade, or now health care) in the quest to get things done. And when I try to imagine how the writers at the New Republic would respond if a Republican administration, in a time of massive fiscal crisis, pushed the main funding mechanism for a new entitlement out eight years from the time the bill was passed well, I don’t have to imagine very hard. So we’re all disappointed with each other. And that, I suppose, is politics.
I have tried to chart a Rauchian course somewhere in between - with some deference to Obama's campaign promise, the obvious need for something to be done soon, the potential for future reform by acting on good elements already in the bill, and, I have to say, a moral sense that leaving people without any health insurance or ability to get any is just, well, wrong.
Here I go again, I guess. I haven't mentioned my faith in this debate but it has animated me lately on this question.
Ross is very much aware of our faith's demand that the sick be treated as dignified human beings, rather than as desperate entrants in emergency rooms, or as bankrupted middle class folks whose illness is compounded by deep financial insecurity and anxiety.
I have been in the midst of serious illness and disease and I learned in those years that as a human being, I could not look away. Now I know, of course, that there are many ways to do this and I also know that there are many benefits to more free market approaches. I would be dead without the drug companies as I have always pointed out. But I also know we are in economically depressed times and the anxiety is greater than ever. And there is plenty in this bill - health insurance exchanges, cost control experiments - that could grow in importance in time.
No health insurance reform will be perfect. In my view, this one will do for now. And yes, conservatives should support it and get back into office and reform it and adjust it and hone it to make it better.