I had been kicking around a number of posts about the latest health care endgame which, if the House Deem-and-Pass of the Senate bill plus amendments go through will not really be the endgame, but the end of the beginning of the first round of the endgame. Because from there, it’ll go back to the Senate and then may end up bouncing between the Houses for a while until they come up with some kind of resolution, that is, if Harry Reid comes up with the 51 votes he needs to proceed in the Senate. And so far he hasn’t.
And should any version of Obamacare pass, we’ll move into a new era, an era inaugurated by Obama, Pelosi and Reid on January 20, 2010 (or thereabouts) when they decided to proceed with this mess even though, by then, it was abundantly clear that the American people didn’t want to proceed with this mess.
Future Congresses will have to address the cost increases associated with this, perhaps even moving to repeal it. Should that happen, animosity between a Republican Congress and Democratic President could keep the issue at the forefront of the national conversation for years to come. And this is not the issue that the American people want at the forefront of our public debate at this moment.
Should, however, Obamacare pass, repeal may well soon join jobs and the deficit as a top national priority.
The divisions in the American body politic that have come out in the last few months of debate will only be increased and animosities intensified. Obama may have been elected to heal a divided nation, but he has instead accomplished the opposite–rubbing salt into the wounds and ripping open new ones.
And so it ends, with a health-care vote expected this weekend. I wonder at what point the administration will realize it wasn’t worth it—worth the discord, worth the diminution in popularity and prestige, worth the deepening of the great divide. What has been lost is so vivid, what has been gained so amorphous, blurry and likely illusory. Memo to future presidents: Never stake your entire survival on the painful passing of a bad bill. Never take the country down the road to Demon Pass.
And with anything by Peggy, read the whole thing, but I will say that this time (and not for the first time), I don’t agree with every word of the Athena of punditry. Her first sentence is wrong. It doesn’t end with the vote this weekend. It only continues.