When people bring up Social Security and Medicare, they would do well to remember that neither of those were passed by today's Democratic and Republican parties, neither were passed with today's ridiculous Senate threshold, and neither of those were suffused with today's naked, bipartisan corporatism, where people ar mandated by law to buy a poorly-regulated private-sector product.
It doesn't work that way. We heard the same kinds of sentiments about No Child Left Behind when it passed in 2001. Backers on both sides of the aisle had problems with it, but both sides celebrated it as a major step forward -- and promised to make it better in the future.
"The agreement we reached reflects the best thinking of both sides," said Sen. Joe Lieberman.
"This was a reform bill. We can't have reform without resources, and that will be the next step," said Sen. Tom Daschle.
"This is a good bill... And there are going to be many additional steps that will be necessary along the way, but all of us are committed to following in those steps," said Sen. Ted Kennedy, the primary Democratic co-sponsor of the bill.
But despite the widespread commitment to taking the "many additional steps" needed, the steps were never taken, the resources were never allocated, the bill was never improved, and, indeed, is now generally regarded as a disaster (or, as Bill Clinton put it last year, "a train wreck").
In an ominous sign of things to come, Vicki Reggie Kennedy, Sen. Kennedy's widow, made many of the same arguments that were used in support of No Child Left Behind in her Washington Post op-ed promoting passage of the current health care bill.
It's a moving piece of writing -- and nobody doubts her late husband's heartfelt dedication to health care reform. But nobody doubted his dedication to education reform, either.
(In fact, stopping to think about it, isn't today's "health care reform" much like what the Republicans wanted to do with Social Security?)
Edit: You can tell some of the defenders are embattled because, to put it bluntly, they sound like assholes:
I'm sorry, but debating the kill-billers on the policy merits of their position has become a bit like debating the global warming denialists. The denalists operate by picking and choosing which evidence they cite and what arguments they respond to. Sometimes, they raise fairly good points or expose legitimately sloppy work on behalf of "consensus" scientists. Sometimes, they are being contrarian for contrarianism's sake. And sometimes, they're just throwing a bunch of sh*t at the wall and seeing what sticks, hoping that the underlying truth or lack thereof is lost in the fog of debate.See? Asshole. Even making this comparison is the proverbial "dick move" and makes it that much less likely that critics will me mollified.
But, hey, Nate? You're the one who resembles the climate change denialists. Most of the denialists are saying what they're saying because they have a strong financial and economic reason to do so. Either they prosper from from the status quo, or don't want to pay the costs of the lifestyle changes. Some are honest contrarians, but not many.
It is your crowd that has the financial incentives here, Nate. Not the HCR critics. Remember, if if HCR fails, the Dems take it on the chin, and so does everybody in the outer Demosphere. That includes "progressive journalists" like Matt and Ezra and the TNR crew.
And, yes, it also includes Dem-aligned jumped-up baseball statisticians masquerading as policy wonks. Ones who also argued until they were blue in the face that Ahmedinejad won legitimately...eyewitness accounts of fraud notwithstanding.
(Or did you think we had forgotten about that?)
The piece actually got worse as time went on, casting all manner of aspersions on a legitimate health care expert, Jon Walker. Walker turned around and handed Nate his own hams.