Friday, December 25, 2009

The Hijacking of the Health Care Debate

My first post since October... frankly I've been punked on politics for two months. It's been a welcome relief from the intensity of the two year presidential campaign and the first year of President Obama's term.  I have been following the issues and doing a lot of reading and reflecting.  I'm back, refreshed and ready for a more moderate but steady pace in the political arena.  Thanks for reading..... and now....

Look who's hijacked the health-care debate!  I'm following David Sirota (you should too) this morning and he's all a-twitter (no pun intended) about the letter written several months ago during the house debate that was signed by 60 Democrats indicating that ANY bill without a public option would be "unacceptable."  The debate is now fully engaged between the "savvy" DC elite and the progressives in the rest of the country. Firedoglake is breathing fire condemning the bill, Rahm Emanuel is breathing fire condemning FDL and the rest of progressive blogsphere, Nate Silver is councelling caution, David Sirota is saying yes....but maybe no,  and on and on.

What's happening here?  It's all progressives all the time.  Conservatives and Republicans are on the sidelines, largely by choice, with no voice in the debate.  Their political play of lock-step negativity has cast them out of the kingdom.  It's left now to progressives, liberals, blue dogs and the DC elite to hash out the health care reform into something that can reach the President's desk for a signature.

I love this kind of change.  It's what we voted for.  President Obama has a calm steady hand on the wheel, plowing slowly and inexorably down the middle of the political spectrum, allowing progressives to do what they do, while always acknowledging the other levers of power.  Brilliant!  Progressives are pissed, Conservatives are pissed, nobody is getting everything they want, again.... Brilliant!

Let the debate continue.  Poker played for the highest stakes imaginable.  Remember that the rhetoric being shouted back and forth is now between players on the same team.  Threatening to walk away is a part of the game.  Fierce debate among progressives will finally give us a realistic picture of what we are arguing about. Real issues that concern all citizens.  It's what Democrats do.  Again.... change we can believe in.


Rockdem said...

I agree Brent, this is moving forward, not in lock step but with people looking for the 80% solution.
This is what I voted for.

Belle Rose said...

Glad to see ya back! Missed your insights.

I'm one of those "progressives" who is less than thrilled with the health reform that is likely to emerge. I basically wanted "medicare for all." The likely compromise bill falls short on many points and is a sellout to the insurance guys. While some blame Dems for only getting an 80% solution, not the 97.9% solution most of us wanted/hoped/voted for, this is at least significant change in the right direction--and change that we can build on. Can you imagine what a McCain admin would have done? Nothing or moving backwards is the probable answer.

They say making laws is akin to making sausage and this health reform illustrates that better than most. Lots of tripe, ground hooves, and bristly hair got ground into this one. Jimmy Dean's quality control would never allow it. But, democracy doesn't have a quality control guy with absolute power.

Truth is, Repubs can sit on the naysayers' sideline and carp about progress. They all think alike (where all think alike nobody thinks very much) and march in lockstep to the party's strategy of opposition to everything Obama. Democrats represent far more diverse ideologies and some come from conservative/reddish states. We always have to remember that an elected person's first goal, trumping ideology and policy, is saving their own seat.

So progressives, our challenge over the next year, indeed the next decade or two, is to take the progress made possible by President Obama's/Democrats health reform and make it better and better, eventually to make decent heath care a RIGHT for all citizens.

Brent Holl said...

Yes. The work has just begun and progressives MUST stay in the game and work hard for that last 20%.

seth said...

i thought this was an intelligent consideration of why framing health care as a human right may not be the most efficacious way to affect positive change. while we all love puppies, i think it's important to remember that ultimately it's the effect of our actions and not our intentions that will define our collective success or failure.

BlueRager said...

Excellent article and well worth considering. Sadly the high profile diseases, the politically expedient course of action, and the most profitable avenue of care get all the attention. I'm not so much a believer in health care as a human right all by itself as I am in the Bill of Rights and the Constitutional guarantees for the general welfare.

Moreover, I believe in a well-functioning government that can efficiently and fairly deliver health care to everyone in any condition or precondition of life. A single-payer system is the only program that will do this. It's not politically expedient, or profitable, or focused on the most serious diseases. Single-payer is just good, effective governance.