Two years ago the prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic nomination presented a healthcare proposal mandating universal coverage. Everyone would have healthcare. Those who could not afford it would receive government assistance to ensure they could.
That prohibitive front-runner lost to Barack Obama, who throughout his time as both a senator and a presidential candidate wavered between a single-payer plan and an open-market system with a strong public option.
After months of debate, after months in which the White House and other Democratic party leadership stood idly by while the right wing not only dictated the terms of the national debate but dragged that debate into the fascist-Nazi-communist gutter, after months of bowing down before moderate Democrats and Republicans from Maine, after months of allowing the 60-vote cloture goalpost to slide farther and farther away from anything the Democratic party campaigned and won on in 2008—after all of this, we find ourselves tonight beholden to one senator from Connecticut who is demanding a compromise on the previous compromise of the initial compromise. We find ourselves with a bill which covers only a fraction of the uninsured, spares only a fraction of the ten-year budget deficit projection, and shaves only a fraction off of current premiums.
The last time the Democratic party fucked up healthcare this profoundly I was a lot younger, a lot more idealistic, and, as a result, a lot more saddened than I find myself today. Back in the day I would have been deeply saddened—and probably pissing mad—to watch Harry Reid and the rest of the party leadership kowtow to the center-right rather than call the bluff on this filibuster threat. Today I’m a lot older, a lot more cynical, and a lot more jaded, entirely because we’ve been around this block so many times before. If anything, I’m just embarrassed I didn’t see this coming. I’m embarrassed I let Obama’s rhetoric of “hope” lead me to believe the American left had actually grown a pair. I’m embarrassed I failed to remember that whatever balls the American left can lay claim to remain firmly in the clutches of the healthcare industry—or any other industry, for that matter.
I’m embarrassed I was so foolish as to believe that “change” was more than just a word.
As much as I want to convince Matt that there’s a long road yet towards progressive power, I can’t do that when we’re battling this kind of crushing disappointment.
Anybody got any thoughts?