Don’t Bet on a Liberal Revolt
By: Craig Chamberlain
By offering to remove the “public option” from his health care bill President Obama has set off another fire storm. This one comes from his own left wing base, who are screaming that they will not vote for any bill that does not include a public option. This public option was just a code phrase for a government take over of health care, it has been the holy grail to liberals for the last 60 years, and the idea that it’s about to die when they have a democratic President, a democratic House, and a supermajority in the Senate must be especially galling.
What they refuse to realize, what they have always refused to realize, is that government run health care has never been popular with the American people. It’s not popular now, it wasn’t popular when Hillary tried it, and it wasn’t even popular when President Truman toyed with the idea. Most Americans realize that a government that can’t delivery the mail on time can’t be trusted with running health care.
President Obama has seemingly come to understand this. He has watched while his personal approval ratings and support for his health care bill, the center of his domestic agenda, have plummeted. The people just don’t believe him when he tells them that they won’t be forced onto a government plan, that they will be able to choose their doctor, and that health care won’t be rationed out in the end. The people are right not to believe it. No country in the world, that has socialized medicine, has increased coverage and lowered costs at the same time. The result is always inevitable. You always end up with unelected government officials deciding what health care, if any, you can have. Costs skyrocket along with waiting times for simple procedures. If you’re a Canadian in need of a CT scan you can wait months for a Canadian hospital to see you, or you can drive across the border and have one immediately.
The left is furious of this retreat. President Obama knew he was getting killed in the public debate, and in order to salvage some kind of a win he had to make some kind of a concession. The left doesn’t see it that way. They insist that since they have the votes they should ram an unpopular bill through, even if it costs them Congress in the 2010 elections. That’s how important government run health care it to them, many of them would rather lose their seats if it means that they can shift this country permanently to the left.
But despite the rhetoric, and that’s all it is, don’t expect a revolt among the progressive wing of the party. The know that President Obama is still their guy, and he hasn’t been in office long enough yet for them to risk going against him. He’s still personally popular, and they have to know he’s the best they’ve got. He’s the first President to belong to their faction, and rebelling against him isn’t going to get them anything. Their talk about losing 100 votes is just that. They’ll be behind him in lockstep.
They’ll be behind him because they know that they can still get government run health care even if the words “public option” are taken out of the bill. Right now their anger is just posturing for their constituents. They know that going against the President will leave them with something while working with him will get them most of what they want. President Obama wants a co-op instead of a public option. In theory, this co-op would not be government funded, or run. It would just be supported by the feds.
That’s the theory. In reality the Democrats in Congress would insist on funding most, if not all, of this co-op, and the feds will be running it for the first few years. Then that time will be expanded and expanded so that the government is always in control of it. While Americans should be happy that they got President Obama to back down, and retreat on public option, they should be wary that this co-op is a trojan horse to sneak government run health care past the American people.
The American people and the Republican party should keep up their opposition. Any “reform” that gives more power to Washington and takes away power from the American people is not reform we need. We don’t need a public option or a co-op, we need less of Washington.
The words public option might be off the table but the idea of government controlled health care isn’t, despite liberal wailings.