The health care reform bill isn't as strong or as sweeping as it should be. It doesn't set up anything like the single payer system that makes the most sense and would serve the American people most efficiently. It lacks a public option and makes far too many concessions to the insurance industry. But it is SO much more than has been offered before that we have to count it as a major victory both for President Obama and, more importantly, the American people. (The New York Times has the story here.) And the reaction to it has been fascinating. To hear the Radical Right talking, you would think America had just been taken over by Stalinists. (The Daily Kos has the Freepers' alternatively hilarious and disgusting foot stamping here.) But of the reactions I have read, I like Andrew Sullivan's the best :
Again, the real parallel is Ronald Reagan. People forget how unpopular Reagan was at the same point in his presidency — and passing a big tax cut was legislatively a lot easier than reforming a health sector the size of the British economy. But like Obama he persisted and, with luck and learning, aimed very high.
Obama has bet that this is his destiny. He is extremely cautious from day to day, staggeringly flexible on tactics, but not at all modest when you look at the big picture. He still wants to rebuild the American economy from the ground up, re-regulate Wall Street, withdraw from Iraq, win in Afghanistan, get universal health insurance and achieve a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine in his first term. That’s all. And although you can see many small failures on the way, and agonising slowness as well, you can also see he hasn’t dropped his determination to achieve it all.