The last thing I would claim to be is a political expert. That's right up there with being a liberal in my book. Plenty of people think I'm a liberal as in left-wing socialist near or even over-the-line commie. I'm no expert and I'm no commie but I do have opinions and my opinion of what the Democrats are about to do with respect to healthcare in America is what this post is about. I'm convinced that the Democrats are committing political suicide. In fact if I were inclined to conspiracy theory I'd even think someone must be paying them pretty big bucks to do this because the Democratic idea of healthcare reform is just plain insanity.
Let me ask you something.
If you were on the Obama campaign trail back in 2008, did you go to any of the rallies where he spoke? I went to the one in Bangor which was just about two years ago as I recall and I remember him saying he didn't support forcing people to buy health insurance. I seem to recall him assuring us that this isn't the way to make healthcare affordable. He went on to suggest things that really did make sense like helping Americans to lead a healthier lifestyle so their healthcare costs wouldn't be such a burden to themselves and to society. The critical point to remember is that this was one of the ways Obama differentiated himself from Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary campaign since her healthcare idea rested heavily on mandating insurance for everybody.
I didn't support Hillary. I did support Obama. So what did I get? I got this dumb Democratic healthcare bill that mandates health insurance and that ensures that I will pay a fine (euphemism for a tax) every year if it ever comes down to me not being able to buy health insurance. Did I vote for this? HELL NO! Did anybody vote for this? Well if they did, I haven't met them yet. Nobody I know wants this thing to get passed. It sure isn't going to win many votes come November - not that I can see anyway. Yet I keep getting emails from moveon.org or the DSCC or the Obama bunch that tell me I need to contribute more money before such and such a deadline and to please call my congresswomen and tell them that I want this thing passed.
I don't. Olympia, Susan, I don't and neither does my wife. Mike, this isn't what the people want. We don't want to privatize our healthcare taxes by enriching healthcare executives. We want lower healthcare bills, not more insurance. Can you hear me?
But man I want to tell you, the Republicans are playing a really good game here. They have these numbass Harry Reid -slash- Nancy Pelosi Democrats backed right into a corner. Reid dumps this monstrosity on everyone's laps last December, forces a vote of 60 Democrats and zero Republicans, all for a bill that the American people are scared to death of and that doesn't even include the one tool that could have lowered healthcare costs, a government-run alternative to private insurance companies. Now it's like oh baby we gotta pass this thing or it'll be political victory for the Republicans - this no matter what the American people feel about it.
The smart thing for the Democrats would have been to start right out 2009 by passing the Republican plan. Instead, they insisted that the Republicans didn't have a plan. Take for instance tort reform. The Dems should have had tort reform done by the beginning of February last year. And they should have broken the insurance company monopolies by allowing insurance companies to compete nationwide. It's a whole year later now and those things haven't been done and the American people can plainly see that it is the Democrats, not the Republicans holding these reforms up. In fact, the voters are ready to believe that they'll have to vote Republican to get these things done.
In reality voting Republican won't solve the problem but that's an entirely different story. This is politics that I'm talking about here.
Democrats had the opportunity to say to the American people, "Hey, you want these Republican ideas implemented? Well we're not here to block reform. Here, let's have a vote on it." Then the Republicans would have had to decide to either vote in favor of their own reform ideas, thus supporting the Democratic effort, or else vote against their own ideas. That's good politics. But oh, no we can't have that happening. Harry and Nancy can't be giving Republicans what they want.
Politics as usual... gridlock... and in this case political suicide.
Or at least that's how it looks from my little corner of the world.