Jay Cost, a thoughtful political analyst who is gentle on no one–left, right, or center–has really hit the nail on the head in his recent blog post. He has called a spade a spade, suggesting that congressional Democrats are rushing toward an electoral cliff by abandoning their core principles and public opinion at the same time.
I have often wondered whether the individual mandate that is in the current Senate plan–that all Americans buy health insurance–is even constitutional: a super-requirement for citizenship. Some in Congress have tried to draw the parallel between required auto insurance and required health insurance. But driving and owning a car are elective activities, and living and breathing are not. Here’s what Cost says: “…the United States government will require citizens to contract with private corporations as a condition of citizenship–whether they want to or not. If they don’t, the feds will levy a tax on them, the revenues of which will ultimately find their way to the insurance companies.” That doesn’t sound like a Democratic ideal. Fascists in bed with insurance fat cats, maybe. But not Democrats, who used to be for the average joe.
Reading all the news and analysis about the health care debate crawling through Congress, I have also wondered whether it would be a good idea for everyone to just quietly let the whole thing just drop and start over again with the right parameters: bipartisanship, broad public support, and smart, incremental changes in regulations that will actually make a positive impact on Americans. Or just walk away and forget about it altogether. After all, does the federal government really have to poke its nose into everything?
Cost also raises the warning flag on the electoral reckoning that is coming for tone-deaf Democrats next year: “When the people catch wind of the full scope of this bill, and they will, there will be hell to pay. The public has been known to vote against big business and big government. Somehow, this compromised bill manages to deliver both–big government and big business, joined together, with the little guy forced to participate…Democrats were bound to lose seats next year because it is a midterm and they’re in charge. They were bound to lose extra seats because it’s a recession. But if they pass this bill, God help them. The people sure as hell won’t.”
Thanks for the straight shooting, Jay.