Can Senator Lugar save the Republican party?
Will this man play de Klerk to Conyers’ Mandela?
Yesterday nyceve had a diary on health care that asked readers to contact Richard Lugar and ask him to introduce a Senate version of HR 676. Since Lugar was specifically singled out, I assume there is some reason to believe that he is receptive to the idea. I don’t know much about Lugar other than the obvious, and I don’t know much about Indiana politics. What follows is pure speculation, make of it what you will.
One of my high school teachers was fond of saying that there were two reasons for everything, the good one and the real one.
The good reason that Lugar might decide to take the lead in the Senate for single payer is for all the reasons that we have discussed. Single payer would save $350 BILLION a year. Rather than create a new government program it would merely expand an existing program which already has an administrative structure in place. It would have a massive stimulating effect upon the economy, particularly what remains of our manufacturing sector, a significant portion of which is located in Indiana. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the thousands of hard luck health care stories that pour into every politician’s office have had their effect upon Lugar, he may genuinely want to do something. Just as de Klerk understood that apartheid had become unsustainable, Lugar may have realized that the employer based insurance system has run its course.
Now lets get a little cynical for a moment. Health care is a huge issue, Obama and Kennedy want to be the leaders who provided a soltion. So far the Republican response has been more of the same, obstructionism. But Lugar has always positioned himself as the reasonable Republican. He can see that more Gingrich style obstructionism is not going to work in the present environment. The significance of Obama’s carrying Indiana is not lost on Lugar. The Republicans need a new approach. By embracing single payer, Lugar can deprive Obama and Kennedy credit for solving the health care crisis while at the same time avoiding the label of obstructionist.
The politics of such a move get even better from the point of view of Indiana Republicans. Evan Bayh is up for reelection in 2010, and Bayh is a determined opponent of single payer. Should Lugar take the lead for single payer in the Senate he creates an opportunity to whoever runs against Bayh to paint Bayh as the Senator from Wellpoint.
If Lugar is considering a run for President single payer will give him an issue that will cut into Obama’s base. Since Palin has the Cro-Magnon wing of the Republican party sewn up, Lugar will need a different appeal. Lugar could be the Republican who pulled one of Obama’s chief issues right out from under him.
If you live in Indiana, please contact Senator Lugar.
If you do not live in Indiana, it might make fore sense to contact his election site.