Seriously? And you went to Harvard?

I’m starting to feel bad about picking on NYT conserva-wonder Ross Douthat too often. But then he goes and writes something as inane as this:

For President Obama, being “bipartisan” means incorporating a few right-of-center proposals into an essentially liberal legislative package. For Republicans, it means doing only those things that legislators of both parties can agree on — a far more stringent standard, and one that would produce a very different bill.

I don’t know where Ross is getting his information, but an “essentially liberal” bill probably wouldn’t leave the private insurance industry intact or funnel more customers to its door; the current bill does. An “essentially liberal” bill would probably include Medicare buy-in and a public option; the current bill doesn’t. An “essentially liberal” bill probably would focus on coverage and leave out cost-control; this bill does more cost control than ever before. In the popular caricature of liberalism, an “essentially liberal” bill would probably increase the deficit and not target any significant spending cuts to pay for itself; this bill decreases the deficit and goes after wasteful spending in Medicare to help pay for itself. And finally, an “essentially liberal” bill would be single-payer (read: government) insurance, or completely socialized medicine (insurance + delivery).  Clearly this bill is nowhere near “essentially liberal”. It began as a compromise bill and moved farther and farther to the center as the legislative process dragged on. That’s why liberals are unhappy: from their perspective, it’s not a liberal bill.

And how about Ross’s dream that all Republicans want to do is find something that everyone can agree to? It’s a fantasy. On the left are people who think that anything short of single-payer is a cop-out to industry, who say that only a public option can win them over. On the right are people who think there is no reason to focus on increased coverage for the uninsured. No bill can win both groups over. And neither should it. Voters gave Democrats the largest congressional majorities since the 1970s AND the White House. Majorities are meant to be used. People who lose elections are not supposed to have an equal say in government.  That’s why the final bill is tailored to win over the 40th most conservative (or the 60th most liberal) senate vote.

And Ross Douthat and his brethren on the right know this. That’s why when they held power they made their policies as conservative as possible while still being able to secure enough votes for victory. If you win elections, you get to do stuff. Demands for unanimous agreement by people who know better are really just cynical attempts to score political points. And Ross should know better. After all, he went to Harvard.


2 Responses to “Seriously? And you went to Harvard?”

  1. 1 davd(p) February 15, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    this shit drives me nuts. I can’t even read the news any more.

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This is a group blog. JSC5 currently writes from the US. JSC7 writes from behind the Great Firewall of China.

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