There are an awful lot of people out there who hate Obama. It seems, based on online postings and the reactions Iíve seen and heard to the health care ruling at the Supreme Court, that the dislike for Obama gives millions of people a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Not only do they hate him, they hate their govt., they hate what the govt. is trying to do with health care (make it available to more people and control the costs), they hate the Democrats and they donít think any of it is going to work out for the better.
This is not rational. The Republicans and the tea party Republicans, along with radio hosts, bloggers and Fox News, have focused so much attention on Obama that one would think he was the enemy of the entire universe, a person whose motivation every moment of the day is to do the nation harm. I guess hating is a lot more fun than loving.
I am not thrilled with the health care reform act myself, but I donít think it is the end of America as we have known it, nor do I think it is a giant leap toward socialism. There appears to be a lot of good in the legislation as passed and some bad; the biggest fault is that it doesnít really solve, or provide a way to solve, the most basic problems of run away costs and the need for excellent health care for everyone, rich, poor and in between. We will still be captive of a giant insurance industry seeking to profit from our illnesses by limiting coverage, deciding which procedures we can have and by, overall, charging more than they pay out, by one means or another.
The decision of the Supreme Court, however, means that Obama has done something no other Democratic president, or Republican, for that matter, could ever accomplish. Franklin Roosevelt first considered national health care when he was proposing Social Security and he quickly backed away. Harry Truman tried it and the Democrats lost Congressional seats by the dozens. Bill Clinton, through Hillaryís efforts, messed around with health care and lost control of the House of Representatives. Obama finally got a major health care bill through, then he, too, lost the House and is in danger of not getting a second term. Still, he did it.
It was a mistake, on many levels, for the Obama administration to put so much importance on getting the legislation passed in his first two years in office. It has cost him dearly and given the Republicans and the tea party Republicans screaming rights for the last three years. Yet, even seen as a political miscalculation, Obama has done what presidents are supposed to do: find a way to resolve, or at least move toward resolution, on long standing, major problems and move the nation forward.
The noise from the right is mainly about trying to win the presidency and take over the Senate, while retaining control of the House. One longer term benefit of having this legislation on the books is that it could provide a way to frame future efforts to build a better system. Ten or twenty years from now, even right wing politicians of goodwill, if there are any around, might be ready to admit that this was not such a bad idea. Perhaps Obamaís victory will provide the means by which people in the future can come together and devise a better solution.
Meanwhile, Obama should sleep better on this night, and in the coming nights, than he has in a long while. The unfortunate downside for him and the Democrats is that the Republicans will now have the whole thing to kick around till election day. They could have crowed over victory if the Court had gone their way, instead they get to use the legislation as a whipping boy to try to win at the ballot box.
Obama is guaranteed a place in history as the first president to propose, and get passed, major legislation intended to bring all Americans under comprehensive health care. Even if it were to be overturned later, his place is history is assured. His success, backed by the Supreme Court ruling, means that from now on this issue will be seen in terms of what this president has done.
Doug Terry, 6.29.12