Health Care Post-Mortem
Dems Pass Healthcare
(c) Walt Handelsman
On the eve of the historic health care vote, President Obama spoke to House Democrats. He began his speech by quoting
Listening to the final floor speeches that followed put into stark relief the key difference between the two parties. The Democrats, as they had been throughout the yearlong process, were fractious -- often frustratingly so -- but engaged in the debate about how to best deliver health care reform to the American people. The Republicans, on the other hand, were so united in their lockstep refusal to be a serious part of the process that it's hard to even call them the opposition.
Indeed, watching the contrast between the two sides, including the Democrats' last-minute horse-trading over abortion, brought to mind another Lincoln quote, from when he was just a former
"(Douglas) should remember that he took us by surprise -- astounded us by this measure," responded Lincoln. "We were thunderstruck and stunned, and we reeled and fell in utter confusion. But we rose, each fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach -- a scythe, a pitchfork, a chopping-ax, or a butcher's cleaver. We struck in the direction of the sound, and we were rapidly closing in upon him. He must not think to divert us from our purpose by showing us that our drill, our dress and our weapons are not entirely perfect and uniform. When the storm shall be past he shall find us still Americans, no less devoted to the continued union and prosperity of the country than heretofore."
In other words, rallying a fractious party of equality against a united party of oppression was difficult, but, in the end, good for the country.
There is no doubt that there are far too many in the
Yes, the final bill is deeply flawed. Yes, the process that led to it was woefully mishandled -- right up until the very end when, as
But there is no denying that the lives of millions of Americans will be improved because of what the Democrats have done.
Republicans, meanwhile, have been hoisted with their own deeply cynical petard. As
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are empowered and energized.
In the best tradition of great presidents who have learned on the job, President Obama has shown a willingness to course correct and an ability to do so. In the wake of
As a result, he created the kind of momentum that builds upon itself -- the kind that delivers the votes you never have until, well, you have them. The kind of momentum that says, this train is leaving the station, you better get on board or get left behind. The kind of momentum he and his fellow Democrats can use as they tackle the huge problems ahead.
As the president put it in his speech following the health care vote: "The work of revitalizing our economy goes on. The work of promoting private sector job creation goes on. The work of putting American families' dreams back within reach goes on."
So, as he pivots to addressing these other major issues, let's hope the president and his party don't wait until their backs are up against the wall -- and have given too much of the farm away to a party unwaveringly committed to maintaining the broken status quo -- before doing the things they should have been doing all along.
Read the latest health care reform news.
- What Is and Isn't in Healthcare Bill
- Obama Must Now Sell Healthcare to Skeptical Public
- After Months of Debate, No Bipartisanship on Healthcare
- Reactions to Historic Healthcare Reform
- DeMint Launches Healthcare Repeal Effort
- Healthcare Reform Only Partial Victory for Women
- Healthcare Passage Helps Democrats in November
- The Reality of ObamaCare
- Answering the Call to History
- Health Care Post-Mortem
Healthcare Reform - Health Care Post-Mortem | Arianna Huffington
(c) 2010 Arianna Huffington