Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama’s Stockholm Syndrome

Sandy Levinson, the law professor at the University of Texas and an unabashed liberal, writes in Balkinization:

Today's Times indicates the possibility that President Obama is willing to sacrifice "universal coverage" for a "bi-partisan bill" that can gain Republican support. But doesn't he realize that it is simply not in the interest of the Republican Party to given him a scintilla of support for any kind of major health bill. Consider, from the Times story, "Republicans showed no new signs of willingness to work with the Democrats. Asked what he would be willing to work on with majority, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, offered meek praise for Mr. Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan but did not offer a single example on domestic policy."

The Republicans have whittled away at genuine health care reform like it was a bar of Ivory soap. (Spot tried to whittle the bust of a president out of a bar of Ivory soap in grade school art class.) If you compromise and compromise and compromise, you just wind up in a compromising position, and that’s where Obama find himself now.

Keith Ellison has doubts about voting for this stinker, for crying out loud.

Professor Levinson sums up where we find ourselves  — and where President Obama finds himself — very well. We’re on the cusp of a new election season with nothing to show for the last cycle.

Wait a minute, Spot! That isn’t true! We’re escalating the war in Afghanistan. That’s something!

But that won’t be much of a rallying cry for the Democrats this fall, grasshopper.

At this point, it seems to Spot that the best course would not be to compromise again. Better to make your best case for genuine health care reform, try your hardest to explain why single payer, or the public option, or whatever, is the best policy, and if it loses, it loses. “Winning” at this point looks pretty, well, pointless. And unlikely as well.

Spot has made a better case for HCR than the President has, but that’s damnation with faint praise. With the world’s most magnificent bully pulpit, Obama couldn’t explain how badly we fare in health care outcomes compared to most of the OECD, how we spend double the average of most industrialized countries per capita on health care, yet cover the a much smaller percentage of our citizens, how our health care system puts our industries at a competitive disadvantage, or how the infant mortality rate in New York City is worse than a lot of third world countries.

Was that so hard?

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