Healthcare vote news - Part 2
It passed the House with 219 for, 212 against. They clearly needed Stupak's vote, and I find myself wondering what they really gave him to get it, since the executive order BS is so weak, and he had so much leverage.
But I think what disturbs me most is the scorched-earth brand of politics used to bring this through. The American people were clearly against it by a not-too-small margin (significant, given the scope of the legislation). And the Democrats decided they didn't care. If this doesn't disturb you, I recommend thinking about it a bit more:
We may have just killed the social norm that it's not okay to blatantly defy the wishes of your constituents - leaving me with the fear that the political class may decide that the "best" way to serve constituents is to ignore them. And there's not a damn thing we voters can do about it until they come up for reelection.
Regardless of what you think about health care, tomorrow we wake up in a different political world. . . .
Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn’t want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don’t find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, social security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn’t–if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission–then the legislative lock-in you’re counting on wouldn’t exist. . . . If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them, please don’t complain that it’s not fair. Someone could get seriously hurt, laughing that hard. . . .
We're not a parliamentary democracy, and we don't have the mechanisms, like votes of no confidence, that parliamentary democracies use to provide a check on their politicians. The check that we have is that politicians care what the voters think. If that slips away, America's already quite toxic politics will become poisonous.