Monday, August 17, 2009

We Had a Big Election Recently, Right?

Am I the only one who finds it odd, and not in a good way, the extent to which President Obama and other Democrats are treating the question of health care reform as though it sprang into existence de novo within the last few months?

With due respect to daily tracking polls and half-hourly news reporting cycles, there was a closely-watched nationwide election in November 2008, one in which millions of people voted in every state, and health care policy was very much discussed, debated, and dissected in the context of that election.

Strong claims and counter-claims concerning health care policy were traded, vividly distinct alternatives were placed before voters, and when all the votes were counted and certified, Barack Obama became president and the Democrats enlarged their majorities in both the House and the Senate. Consequently, it is fair to say that one vision of health care policy was rejected and another vision embraced last November.

I didn't simply imagine that years-long political campaign leading up to November 2008, did I?

No. It really did happen. This fight was fought, and on the largest, most visible, hardest-to-miss public stage imaginable -- and beyond that, its terms were as detailed as anyone could hope for. Any mildly motivated person, whatever the motivation, had sufficient time, means, and opportunity to acquire, evaluate, and draw conclusions about the foreseeable range of alternative policies.

To pick only a single example from many thousands: as early as January 2007, 657 days before the 2008 elections, Free Republic -- whose content is free but for the pain of reading it -- was loudly warning its readers of Barack Obama's troubling socialistic tendencies.

If there are people who today claim they had no idea of what Obama and the Democrats planned to do with respect to health care -- who today, for example, find themselves stunned to learn that elected Democrats overwhelmingly favor a so-called "public option" -- to such stunned people, I say: tough cookies.

Elections have consequences, or so I have been told.

For the people professing to be stunned by the nature of the proposals now under consideration, my advice is to learn an important lesson from this: the best time to understand and assess questions of public policy over which you are, in principle, willing to throw a screaming fit is before the election, not months after it.

Democrats would do well to observe the same standard. They won the election and need to begin speaking and acting as though they did.


larryniven said...

Well said.

Dale said...

Thanks, LN. I sincerely doubt it's an original set of thoughts, but I never let the fear or stigma of stating the blindingly obvious get in the way of stating the blindingly obvious.