Monday, March 22, 2010
Last night we watched the House debate the health care reform bill. It was difficult to endure -- many opposition lawmakers seem to have abandoned their individual sense of what's right and just in favor of toeing a party line. It's been interesting to watch them use the same keywords and phrases over and over for weeks. They obviously all got the same crib notes.
The pundits are fond of pointing out that even Johnson in the 1960s managed to get Republicans to vote for Medicare. But the political climate in the 1960s wasn't as poisonously partisan as it is today, when Republicans are hell-bent on disinformation and obstructionism. (I'm reminded of Rush Limbaugh's stated goal of seeing Obama fail. You can say what you want about Rush not being a spokesman for the party, but let's face it -- he helps define and express the conservative viewpoint in this country, and that viewpoint is largely Republican.)
I believe Obama honestly tried to work with both sides, and the Republicans fought him every step of the way. He tried to move beyond partisanship, and he was rebuffed. Sad.
I'm happy the bill passed. I think it's a step toward more equitable health care in this country, where we have long endured an unfair system that compares unfavorably with those in most other industrialized nations. Sadly, the fighting isn't over, as the Republicans have promised to try to block the bill's implementation through court battles and other means (and they're already talking eventual repeal). I just want to say, "Go to your room!"
(Photo: Apropos of nothing, a photo of Ernie and Ruby on the Raritan River Art Walk, earlier this month.)