The pause before the epic failure

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, September 7, 2009 18:05 EDT
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Happy Labor Day! Time to enjoy one last day of peace and quiet before the Democrats start selling out the voters on health care in what appears to be a suicide bid to return the Republicans to power. Josh Marshall has a short post up describing the possibilities:

Am I the only one who thinks that if the Dems pass a bill with mandates and subsidies for poor and moderate income people to purchase it but no public option or competition with the insurers, that it will be pretty much a catastrophe for the Democrats in political terms?

You ‘solve’ the problem of the uninsured by passing a law forcing them to buy health insurance which, by definition, most a) cannot afford or b) are gambling they won’t need because they’re young and healthy. Either you end up with low subsidies which still leave it onerous to buy, thus creating a lot of disgruntled people, or you get generous subsidies, which cost a lot of money.

It’s sort of like reform with all the cool political downsides but none of the reform.

He’s far from the only one. To make it worse, after the Democrats fail miserably by passing a bill that’s going to be perceived as a burden—when it should have been a relief—and hand over a number of seats to the Republicans in the next two elections, the Republicans will probably just reduce those subsidies to nothing. Because really, no matter how bad Democrats are, they can’t screw us as bad as Republicans, so really, to drive the knife into our collective backs, they have to work diligently as sucking so bad that people just vote for Republicans. Apparently, the American swing voter tends to think, “If I’m going to get screwed over, I want it to be by someone who is aggressive as possible about it.”

There are options that Democrats could take to prevent this disaster. They could pass a decent bill with protections built in to keep Republicans from destroying it bit by bit when they inevitably regain power. It’s the right thing to do and it offers Democrats self-protection, because a good program would be popular with the public, and they’d want Democrats in office to protect it. In fact, passing a good bill is so incredibly sensible that I’m increasingly sure that the Democrats will never be able to work up the courage to do it. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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