[image courtesy the NYT]
The health care bill isn't a foregone conclusion just yet, but I've come to terms with the likelihood of its passage. Greater minds than mine know whether any of it can be undone at some point in the future, but what remains in the aftermath of the debate is a newly educated populace. We owe Mr. Obama a debt of gratitude for that.
We've learned about the filibuster and the reconciliation process. We've learned that bills really CAN be passed without being voted on. We've learned that we can "deem" things done without having to actually do them. AND, we've learned that bribery and corruption are only so illegal as the gift given in exchange for the specific special political favor. We still can't steal from each other for our direct personal gain, but we CAN steal if the stolen goods are redistributed to a large enough group of people.
Remember - it wasn't so very long ago that Republicans were fairly faulted for not doing the activism thing very well; the VRWC was never known for doing protests in great numbers or with very much effectiveness. The health care debate, among others, has changed all that. The question of whether the Federal Government should be allowed to take over 1/6 of the economy and be allowed to make our health care decisions for us has changed much of the group-think dynamic in America, and the ensuing argument between her citizens can be credited with having given birth to the Tea Party movement (among others). It has also given us a glimpse into the future of the Public discourse by way of the new dynamic at Town Hall meetings.
Going forward, these are very good things.
Mr. Obama, with his majorities in the House and Senate, has used his position to assert Federal authority over the Auto industry, the Finance industry, the Insurance industry, and soon enough the Health care industry (which will include the Student Loan industry-however little one has to do with the other). Don't forget...the Energy industry is still in his sights, and he's going after immigration next. It's being reported that he supports a plan to make illegals legal and just call the illegal problem solved. Again, deeming a thing done without actually DOING anything. This is very instructive.
What he has given us to address going forward is the baseline question over just how big the Federal Government really ought to be; THIS, now, the official fundamental basis for the divide between the left and the right. And he's armed us with inside knowledge about how things have been getting done under his watch. In election cycles to come, listening to the Candidates address the question of the size, scope, and reach of the Federal Government will be of paramount importance. Listening to their answers regarding questions of exactly how the Federal Government enacts legislation will matter as well...what we will have in our favor ("we, the People" that is) will be just how much we now KNOW about their chicanery, and the lengths they are willing to go to get things done.
Thank you Mr. Obama for making us care about the process now, just as much as we used to care about the outcome.