Health Care: Not All Republicans Are on the Crazy Train -- Just the Ones in Congress
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There are a number of prominent Republicans coming to the fore to endorse healthcare reform, unfortunately, none of them happen to be in Congress. Maybe it's their message to their folks on the Hill that, while there may be short term gain with keeping the base riled up for 2010, ending up on the wrong side of history on this debate could have really damaging long term consequences.
After noting that Bill, Frist, Tommy Thompson, Michael Bloomberg, Mark McClellan, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and as of today, Arlold Schwarzenegger, have endorsed reform Steve Benen writes
[I]t positions congressional Republicans as outside the mainstream. If several notable GOP officials are stepping up to endorse reform efforts, and Republicans on the Hill resist, it makes the lawmakers seem petty and overly partisan.
It reminds me a bit of the presidential campaign when a wide variety of Republicans -- including Ronald Reagan's national security advisor, solicitor general, and White House chief of staff -- endorsed Obama. It undermined GOP arguments that the Democrat was some kind of dangerous radical -- if he were a liberal extremist, why were so many prominent Republicans supporting him?
The same is true here. If health care reform is such a radical idea, why are relatively high profile non-Democrats endorsing the effort? [emphasis mine]
Steve's last point is a good one. There's nothing radical about healthcare reform, and I'd take it a step further to say there's nothing radical about a robust public option. We've already got one, in the form of Medicare. Hell, we've already got the most "radical" form of healtcare--single payer--in America in the form of the VA system. That "radical" policy position was rejected before the debate even began, and the robust public option has been the reasonable compromise from the get-go in this debate.
Healthcare reform: the new mainstream.