In a just world, Ammut would be slavering over Paul Krugman's soul
Paul Krugman took a few minutes out of his pleasant Sunday afternoon hosting a book salon at FDL to bring us this gem:
And the answer is no. The Democrats have done it. The House has passed the Senate version of health reform, and an improved version will be achieved through reconciliation.
This is, of course, a political victory for President Obama, and a triumph for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. But it is also a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out.
Nancy Pelosi did an excellent job shepherding this through the House, and there's not a doubt in my mind that if Obama had been gung-ho on single payer from Day 1 that we'd have at the minimum ended up with something resembling Jacob Hacker's original 130 million souls PO, or some other less-than-HR676 solution that would still be some true expansion of one or more of our truly public programs and would cover at least 95% well before 2019.
A political victory for Obama? Short term, sure. Our corporate overlords will be pleased that their once-failing business model has found new life and so the campaign coffers of Democrats will be full this year. Voters will still likely be on a contact high from all this Democratic historical historicity and not expecting their new improved now-with-colorguard insurance to kick in until about 2011 anyway and so November 2010 will be one more feather in the Democratic party cap.
After that though it gets problematic. Obama has said many times that he'd be happy as a one-term President and given his short tenure as a US Senator, this isn't an entirely unbelievable claim. But Power is an intoxicating drug and by 2013 Obama may well decide that he likes this Presidentin' thing and would like to keep on with it. The voters otoh are going to be restless by then, wondering, and maybe even hollering, Dude where's my health care? and disinclined to vote for the guy who promised them quality affordable health care with the beginning in 2014 and for only some of you part spoken sotto voce.
By then, if Obama has decided to stay in office, he'll either have lived up to his Nobel Prize billing and ended the wars in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia. or we'll be in the middle of WW3 and he'll truly be Our War President and how can you change warhorses in the middle of a war?
It's a good thing this vote didn't happen on Palm Sunday, because I'd have been sorely tempted to draw some parallels involving Messiahs and palm fronds and riding into the Holy City on a donkey.
But it's not the eventual triumph or downfall of Obama or the Dems that matters worth even a hill of beans, it's this:
But it is also a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform.
In the end, Paul Krugman, inhabitor of ivory towers and inveterate traveler to Third World countries, fails to see [or perhaps hopes that we fail to see] his part in the other vicious, unprincipled fear offensive in this year-long campaign, the one that was waged against otherwise good-hearted folks everywhere, the one that said we must have this unperfect thing nownownow or we're all gonna die! In the end, those of us living outside those ivory towers, some making it from paycheck to paycheck, some living in Third World conditions right here in the richest country in the world, were rendered invisible in the rush to assuage the pricking consciences of the career liberals and progressives.
America's soul is not going to be saved by a "reform" that promises to leave 7 or 8% of her people completely uninsured, another 10 or 12% insured by a public program that requires them to be poor and stay poor, and yet another 19 or 20% covered by private insurance that's so expensive that after paying their premium they won't have enough money left to pay their doctor. America's soul is not going to be saved by a "reform" that promises to throw some 35 or 40% of her people to the wolves.
In a just world, it would be the likes of Paul Krugman fearing the Eater of the Dead, not us. In a just world, Paul Krugman would worry more about the weighing of his soul against the Feather of Truth and Justice and less about what the republicans might do to Barack Obama's reign.