Everything about the healthcare “debate” in the US is ridiculous. Despite having won a massive majority in 2008 and a very clear mandate to introduce universal healthcare – with, at the very least, a comprehensive public option – the Democrats have allowed themselves to be shouted down to the weak, only slight improvement to the status quo Bill that passed Congress yesterday. And for what? They didn’t get a single Republican vote, and 34 cowardly Democrats voted against it anyway. It only sneaked through with some last minute placating of the anti-abortion lobby (that’s right, if you live in one of those Democrats’ states you get to vote for one of two anti-abortion fundamentalists – no democracy for you!) and a promise that poor women wouldn’t be able to get help for such a procedure.
The hysterical, Glenn Beck-believing, Fox News-watching “tea party” mob, convinced that a mild change in healthcare is “socialism” and will DESTROY THEIR FRAGILE SOCIETY, is screaming that “the people” have been ignored and that the Democrats WILL PAY in November. And they don’t mean for letting their own voters down by watering down the bill to placate people who were never going to vote for it anyway – they mean for doing ANYTHING that Democrat voters might have expected from their 2008 campaign. Those election results don’t count! Obama didn’t really win! We’re still the majority! They’re wetting themselves with fear that “democracy is dead”, and they don’t mean the 34 Democrats who voted against the Bill despite winning office by running on a ticket that promised universal healthcare.
The whole thing is a scathing indictment on the US political system. Voters have the choice between one party of big business, and a party of big business that feels kind of guilty about it just before elections. If you’re a progressive American who voted for public healthcare, and this is all that they could manage, with one of the biggest mandates in history, then I can understand you giving up on the entire system.
Which would be great news for the nutbags and cynical opportunists who’ve taken it over.