In ongoing discussions about health care and the like, I feel like the conversation tends to trip over alternate conceptions of what it would mean to have a "left" versus a "center" view on these issues. For my part, in the abstract my views on health care are way to the left of what the major presidential candidates are putting out there. I'd reduce private insurers to a minor role around the margins, and would even try to do some experimenting with direct public provision of health care services along with the public provision of health insurance.

But then back in the world of sound political strategies for the immediate future, my view is to the right of what John Edwards has put out there, to the right of what Barack Obama put out yesterday, and quite possibly to the right of what Hillary Clinton will put out in the weeks to come. I don't think the political circumstances are ripe for dramatic alteration of the American health care system, and I don't want to see the next Democratic president's first term wracked on the shoals of health care reform. I'd like to see that box checked with a handful of small-or-medium sized initiatives that will make things better and, if successful, may build support for further public action down the road.