Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Health Care!

with 6 comments

* With Stupak’s relent, it was in the bag.

* Accordingly, Obama’s numbers are inching back up in Gallup. I’ve said this before, but I’m with Bill Clinton: Obama’s numbers should jump up significantly as soon as people realize the magnitude of what he, Reid, and Pelosi have accomplished. As ari says in the link, whatever else we might want to say about Obama, and whatever else (good and not-so-good) he goes on to do, as of tonight he is the best president since LBJ and perhaps since FDR, and Pelosi is one of the greatest Speakers of the House of all time. It’s been said many times, but why not once more: that the bill is not all we might have wanted doesn’t make this not a victory.

* Lessons from the health care fight from Tom Schaller and Al Giordano. Here’s Al:

The US left (if such a thing has even existed in recent decades) for once in a lifetime did not fall for the orgy of petty bickering that led to so many previous epic fails, and what we see now is a convergence of forces, from the grassroots up, that can be defined as A. Pragmatic, in its multiple expressions in favor of advancing the ball down the field, and in rejecting the calls for “all or nothing” that had so defined many squandered US progressive political efforts over the past 30 or 40 years, and, B. Disciplined, including in the miraculous appearance of organizing to insist on discipline in the ranks of anyone who traffics in the term “progressive” to promote themselves.

* Republican speechwriter David Frum is devastated.

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us….

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

* And so is NRO’s Mark Steyn.

I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it’s hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be “insurers” in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that’s clear we’ll be on the fast track to Obama’s desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It’s a huge transformative event in Americans’ view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Their bet is that it can’t be undone, and that over time, as I’ve been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people.

You say this like it’s a bad thing…

6 Responses

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  1. David Frum’s comments make happier than anything any of the Democrats have said tonight. I hope that becomes the RP’s new mantra.


    March 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm

  2. I believe it was Stupak who said this, although I wasn’t paying enough attention: “As the author of the Stupak Amendment, this motion [to recommit] is nothing more than an effort to deny millions of Americans healthcare.” This was when the Republicans wanted to recommit the bill with the Stupak amendment included.


    March 21, 2010 at 11:31 pm

  3. Alex

    March 21, 2010 at 11:34 pm

  4. The part you didn’t quote from the Frum article: “Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.”


    March 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

  5. Re: the last two comments: Yes, it’s much less ambitious than I’d like. But it’s done, it’s law. We haven’t gotten here since Medicare. The next step is to keep going, but we had to do this part first.

    We’ve now passed the protections we couldn’t pass by reconciliation. The public option or Medicare buy-in can be a single vote in the Senate now, detached from everything else. That’s good for us; these things are popular, more popular in fact than the rest of the bill. I don’t know that I believe Reid when he says he’ll try again this year. But he should! Why not?

    I like what Frum says there because (if nothing else) it demonstrates how unhinged the far right Republicans has gotten, that they consider even their own ideas anathema now.


    March 22, 2010 at 2:56 am

  6. I have to say I have no idea what else FDL thinks could have passed the House and the Senate in this environment. They’ve obviously been watching different events than I’ve been. It was this or nothing; this is *plainly* much better than nothing.


    March 22, 2010 at 3:05 am

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