Operation: Health care

Just as in 1993, it’s a fight to the political death

February 28, 2010

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DURING THE health care summit of Republicans and Democrats called by President Obama, I heard Virginia Representative Eric Cantor claim that his party’s steadfast opposition to the Democrats is a principled one.

Perhaps Cantor forgets what his colleague, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, said last July regarding health care reform: “If we’re able to stop Obama’’ on it, “it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.’’

In 1993, conservative activist Bill Kristol argued that if Republicans did anything to help President Clinton succeed in reforming health care, it would “revive the reputation of . . . the Democrats as the generous protector of middle-class interests,’’ thereby threatening to relegate Republicans to minority status for a generation.

In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, what’s happening today is deja vu all over again.

Whatever one thinks of the Democrats’ efforts (to me, reform worthy of the name would mean a Medicare for all or a single-payer plan), the transparent bad faith with which Republicans approach this issue ought to be roundly condemned. Instead, the public seems poised to punish Democrats and inexplicably reward Republicans for their self-serving obstructionism.

Such is the state of democracy in an age of sound bites masquerading as news.

Bryan L. Tucker
Jamaica Plain

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