Today is the Health Care Reform summit in D.C. It is scheduled to begin in a few minutes….
I have been thinking a lot about what most thought was an astonishing comment by Rush Limbaugh on January 16, 2009, before the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Limbaugh said it best, himself: “I hope he fails”.
I would venture that most people in this country, including those who like Limbaugh, were put off by his comment over a year ago. After all, who in his or her right mind would wish the failure of a democratically elected President of the United States, especially at a time in our history when quite literally all was virtually lost: the economy on the verge of total collapse, an unwinnable war bankrupting us, and on and on and on.
But Limbaugh said, “I hope he fails“, and for the past thirteen months the Republican party has adopted Limbaughs position as their own and incredibly an astonishing percentage of the American public have adopted in one way or another Limbaugh’s mantra.
People who study such things note that the obstruction mentality in the U.S. Congress is worse now than it has likely ever been, at minimum in modern American history.
It is as if we have some kind of death wish. To paraphrase George Orwell, in 1984, “Failure is success”…at least in the eyes of the Republican Party and those who support its aims.
The issue in the spotlight today will be reform of Health Care in this country. For six months or more, in all sorts of ways, the mantra has been to “Kill the Bill” or, at the very least, to make the resulting policy appear to be a total failure, and to make the failure appear to be the Democrats fault. It is, in medical terms, a “sick” strategy, but it seems to be working: work against, then vote against, health care reform, and blame the Democrats for the lack of adequate reform, and carry this forward to a win in Congressional races in November, 2010.
On every major issue, in every way, the focus has been on assuring failure of the President and the Democrats. Simply look at the record of the major votes in the House and Senate. It is unprecedented in its unity and its viciousness.
If the strategy succeeds (it appears that it is), we deserve exactly what we’re going to get as “American people”.
“I hope he fails”, are words that deserve, richly, to be eaten. As a country, we cannot afford this war against ourselves.
Dismiss me as “Democrat”, “liberal”, “socialist”, even “communist” if you wish. But think about the consequences of staying the course on this absurd strategy…if by some chance the Republicans “win” in November, why should the Democrats treat them any more kindly in 2011 and beyond? Where is the common sense?
“We, the people” need to play more than a spectator role in all of this.
PS: Astonishing to me is the fundamental lack of knowledge most of us have about even recent history in our own country.
Here’s the succinct summary:
1) Republicans controlled the U.S. House and the Senate from January 1995 to January 2009. Yes, the majority shifted in 2007, but as we have seen even a near 60% majority in the Senate can be (and has been) thwarted. Tactics the Republicans used freely (i.e. reconciliation) are condemned if possibly used by the Democrats Remember: The Congress makes the national policy. The President can only recommend.
2) From January 2001 through January 2009 Republicans ruled the roost in the White House and also in Congress (see 2007-2009 above).
3) The Republicans had 15 years to reform Health Care. Take an objective look at the results including 1996. It is not pleasant.
4) We, the people, are the government that we elect. If things are a mess, it’s not their fault, it’s ours.
The record speaks for itself.