Health Reform – taking on all comers

I’m glad Obamacare has passed. Its hideous, of course, but it reminds me of Churchill’s comment about democracy: That its the worst possible form of government except for all the others. Ultimately I support it because, as one analyst noted, health care is a much smaller percent of the national spending in all the European free market economies where it has been imposed as part of their socialistic welfare systems.

Many of its best features have been incorporated into the final bill in an effort to address some of the Republican Party’s most virulent criticism. Many of its worst flaws were incorporated into the final bill in an effort to blunt some of the Republican Party’s most virulent criticism. Otherwise the Republican Party stood on the sidelines while the bill was passed in the House of Representatives last night. It remains to be seen whether their efforts in the Senate will be of any more consequence.

I often mention that I read the Andrew Sullivan blog housed under the Atlantic Magazine’s Internet operation. He’s gay, and sometimes writes in the breathily exasperated way one might streotypically anticipate. But his appeal to me is his willingness to acknowledging when his critics have made a valid point. As a “conservative” Sullivan took a load of criticism for years from liberals for supporting Republican party’s small governnent narrative. As a critic of Republican politics he’s taken a load of criticsm for being a traitor to the cause.

My email fencing partner, Vic, told me that he stopped reading Sullivan because he was too “tendentious.” I incorrectly presumed that this word meant argumentative which, had it been true, would not have soured me on Sullivan’s commentary. The word, instead suggests bias more than quarrelsomeness.

As the quote from Diogenese (number 5) that I pointed to with approval in a previous post suggests opinion free neutrality is not always gratifying. What I value is Sullivan’s willingness to subject his biases to close and tough criticism and his willingness to admit weaknesses when the flaws in his bias are exposed. By these measures the Daily Dish has drawn more and more readers and, unlike the Fox Sound machine, it has remained a source of real debate and discussion.

Here for instance are two quotes from among about twenty posted by Sullivan by pundits pro and con on last night’s Obamacare vote posted by Sullivan. Each quote (in the Sullivan post) has a link to the author’s full analysis.

Frum: If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

From Massie: Make no mistake: the more virulent GOP opposition to the plans became – and, if you like, the more hysterical – the more Democrats had to pass it if only to save face. Sceptical Blue Dogs, Pro-Lifers and Leftists were all forced to club together for the greater good of the party. Left to their own devices they almost certainly couldn’t have agreed on a bill, any bill.

I’d suggest reading all the selections from Sullivan’s post. Like those old 18th century English newspapers they are pithy. In sum they manage to cover the gamut of serious analysis on the biggest Democratic initiative since LBJ’s Great Society sixty years ago. It would take no longer to read them all together than it has to read this post.

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