So the supposed 60-vote filibuster proof Senate majority didn’t last long, did it? Personally, I found it depressing that the voters in Massachusetts would replace Ted Kennedy, a man whose life purpose was to bring universal healthcare to one of the only democracies in the world without it, with a Republican who will now most assuredly walk in lockstep with a political party that made the calculation at the beginning of this year to use the filibuster more than any congress in history to oppose, delay, and obstruct the Democratic agenda in any way possible. But that’s just me. (And I could be wrong about Scott Brown, but I don’t think so.)
What I found more depressing, however, was the immediate capitulation on healthcare by weak-kneed Democrats who are doing their best to reinforce the stereotype that Democrats are spineless.
Look, healthcare reform may not be popular right now, but either was Social Security or Medicare when they were enacted. Today you have even rightwing crazies spouting nonsense like “Don’t let the government take away my Medicare.” Just goes you how far the pendulum can swing; history proves again and again that people like good government social programs once they get used to them, and conservatives know this, which is why they fight them tooth and nail.
I’m also willing to make a prediction: the Democrats don’t pass some kind of meaningful healthcare reform, they’re going to be slaughtered in November at the polls. They might be slaughtered anyway — it’s just the way history works, the party in power during bad economic times get punished even if they weren’t the cause — but they’re guaranteeing that they’ll get slaughtered if they buckle under the pressure.
The Republican line if healthcare doesn’tpass: “You spent a year dithering on healthcare with nothing to show for it and we’re still in a recession!”
The Republican line if healthcare doespass: “You spent a year dithering on healthcare and passed it and we’re still in a recession!”
The second line of attack might still have some traction, but at least it gives Obama and the Democrats a chance to sell the reform. No reform, nothing to sell, that’s all she wrote. You think we’ve got gridlock now? Oh boy, just wait.
Think of it this way: If 100,000 people voted differently in Massachusetts on Tuesday, I doubt some of these Democrats in Congress would be talking about scrapping healthcare reform. So are 100,000 people going to decide the fate of 300 million? If it was such a good idea a couple weeks ago when both houses of Congress passed sweeping healthcare reform bills, it’s now not a bad idea because 100,000 people in Massachusetts say so. And honestly, we don’t even know that’s what they were saying. It’s far more likely that Martha Coakley was just a terrible candidate.
So buck up, Democrats. Show some spine. Don’t reinforce the steretype. Don’t be swayed by the madness of crowds. If you do what’s right for the country, history will prove you correct every time.
That’s it for the soapbox today. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.