It would be a terrible mistake for Democrats to abandon comprehensive health care reform just because voters in the Massachusetts Senate race last week decided that they liked the Republican, Scott Brown, more than the Democrat, Martha Coakley.June 23, 2005, NY Times editorial titled "Social Security Follies":
There is no question that without a filibuster-proof majority it will be a lot harder to pass a bill. But it should not be impossible if Congressional Democrats and the White House show courage and creativity. Health care reform is too important to throw away, and it is not too late to persuade voters that it is in their interest. . .
Recent polls show that the public is divided, with more opposing the bills than favoring them. The negatives have been driven up by critics’ distortions about a supposed government takeover of medicine and the tawdry deal-making necessary to win 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate. . .
We are hearing a lot of talk in Washington, including from President Obama, about possibly paring down the current bills -- to cover many fewer of the uninsured and focus instead on reeling in the worst abuses of the insurance industry and reining in health care costs. That could be difficult technically; many of the parts are not easy to disentangle without undermining their effectiveness. And the politics on Capitol Hill -- where the Republicans are determined to oppose pretty much anything President Obama endorses -- are unlikely to get easier. . .
This is a once-in-a-generation chance. President Obama must explain to the American people why reform is essential to their health and security and this nation’s future. And he must insist that Congress finish the job.
Congressional Republicans have begun talking with top White House aides about an exit strategy -- not from Iraq, but from the winless quagmire of President Bush's campaign to privatize Social Security. Mr. Bush has responded to this new political reality by, first, insisting that the American people do not yet understand the virtues of privatization, and second, blaming the failure of his deservedly unpopular plan on Congressional Democrats.For the supposed "paper of record," the Democrats always are right--even if it requires flip-flopping on procedural legitimacy.
After listening to Mr. Bush talk of little else during his second term, the American people understand quite well what he is proposing for Social Security, and by wide margins reject it. In fact, the polls show that the more they learn about privatization, the less they like it. And with good reason. The very real risks of privatization -- in terms of retirement security and the enormous budgetary cost to the country -- far outweigh the potential rewards.
So when Congressional Republican leaders tell the president that Social Security private accounts are a nonstarter, they are conveying the informed views of their constituents.
Mr. Bush has reacted by railing against Democrats for obstruction -- as if Democrats are duty-bound to breathe life into his agenda and, even sillier, as if opposing a plan that the people do not want is an illegitimate tactic for an opposition party. . .
Enough is enough.
(via Megan McArdle)