Rooted in the term candidate is the word candid – something missing from our elected officials.
On the wiktionary page for “candidate” they have this as the etymology:
I was thinking about some of the liberal talking points in defense of this shitty healthcare bill last night as I was getting ready for bed. A common argument is “What else could they have done?” followed by finger-pointing to Republicans as being “the party of ‘No!’” and obstructionists. I don’t dispute the validity of the charge, but that’s hardly the point nor does it excuse the Democrats willful run to the right.
Before I move on I want qualify that last sentence above. It is a common practice for people guilty of something to try and shift the blame. That’s why there is that old adage about pointing one finger will only result in three pointing back at you. Our ability to highlight the faults of others doesn’t nullify our own. The fact that our governments victims aren’t saints doesn’t justify our aggression.
What else could they have done? They could have been candid. Nothing would have made the GOP look worse than they did* than by a candid politician. In the more than one year President Obama has been in office I don’t think I have seen him take full advantage of his soap box to be frank with us. He’s been eloquently vague, that’s for sure. He’s hinted at best. Just as President Bush and his administration went nuts with bullshit propaganda about Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction, President Obama, his administration and the Democrats could have pointed to the elephant in the room: private insurance and drug companies. Unforttunately, they did not make the link ad nauseum between private enterprise, the crisis that has been building up for decades and how the rest of the developed world have been considerably more successful in responding to it. The conservative talking points could have been fatally wounded with sheer candidness.
Sure, apologists for the private system point to flaws in the British, Canadian, French, Taiwanese, Japanese and Australian healthcare system. They are not perfect, but they are much better than what we have and their systems are much more popular (which is the best point: in those countries the public favors what they got as well as it is cheaper and more effective in terms of overall quality of health). And if these apologists can reasonably predict problems we will face, then by the mental powers our species has evolved we can find solutions without saying, “We should stay in a worse system since a better one isn’t perfect!”
Also, this shit isn’t “socialism.” It’s closer to fascism than anything. An authoritarian state intervening to manage a sector of the economy in cahoots with markets and private enterprise is more fascism and not at all socialism. (It’s also precisely what the government of both parties has been doing since the Great Depression via the Pentagon but I don’t hear the GOP calling our permanent war economy
“socialism.”) Socialism involves social ownership of productive assets, workers and consumers planning of the economy, and an equitable and egalitarian distribution of the wealth. Nothing in the Democrat agenda resembles this. Nothing. Their agenda and that of the GOP are closer together than the Right would like to admit.
The Democrats chose to vaguely point to the problem, offer some extremely watered-down solutions (if you can even call it that), keep the single-payer advocates at bay, and ram through corporate welfare disguised as healthcare reform. Being candid was not their trademark.
One of the biggest problems of our healthcare crisis has been cost and we have done nothing to resolve it. We will still spend more than twice as much as the rest of the developed world because our Democrat-led government refuses to reign in the tyranny of the private system.
If the Democrats wanted better they have a funny way of showing it. Their blocking singlepayer advocates, kissing up to the insurance and drug companies and lack of candidness leaves me with the impression that they didn’t want better and got precisely what they wanted: a faux victory while the problem remains. This is also why I am more than suspicious of the claim that they will “fix” it later. Assuming they did want better, if they didn’t have the political capital to do it right the first time when they control both the House and the Senate, as well as the White House then I don’t know how they plan to “fix” it. Besides, they took lots of money from the drug and insurance companies to fund their campaigns and I doubt they will willingly toss away a cash cow. Any honest understanding of our political system and how the unelected dictatorship of capital controls and influences it reveals the liberal talking points as a lot of hullabaloo.
So there is your answer, liberal. They could have included singlepayer advocates and been candid. That would have had a tremendous impact on public opinion and would have increased exponentially the prospects of the kind of “change” we really need. But the Democrats anti-inclusive attitude and plutocratic-tendencies ensured change is an illusion. Kissing their asses and making excuses for them isn’t helping and won’t help. It does nothing to get past partisan politics and help build a (note the little-d) democratic movement that allows “we the people” to participate in the political process, and that’s what we need.
* There is a strong case to be made that the gist of the opposition to the healthcare bill came from the Left since polls showed the public option, extending Medicare to age 55 and the government dealing with the drug companies over prices were widely popular. Also, polls also showed that the Democrats were more trusted with reform than the GOP, who barely ranked above the private companies.