Waylaid Dialectic

April 12, 2010

Health Care

Filed under: Random Musings — terence @ 1:47 pm
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I had the most surreal dream last night. I was at a restaurant ordering dinner. Down below, the sea washed waves onto a beach that I couldn’t quite reach to go for a surf. The sky was that funny dream-haze colour and the restaurant menu was a game board, ivory coloured like Scrabble pieces, and laid out like Connect Four. I was struggling to order. As I struggled I worried about an article I’d just read, by a guy called Tomasky in a paper from London. In it he told a tale of politics in a super-powerful country. Of how the leader of that country had implemented wise reforms. And how unpopular he had become because of them.

Then I woke up. The beach the sky, the restaurant and the menu vanished. Only Michael Tomasky’s article in the Guardian Weekly remained – the most surreal of all.

The results are in, there’s no point denying them: passage of healthcare reform is a definite negative for Barack Obama. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising. The bill was unpopular – and when you pass an unpopular bill, people aren’t going to be wild about it. Polls come and go, but this much is clear: contrary to the confident predictions of many liberals (although not me), Obama got no positive bounce from the reform’s passage. If anything, he got a slightly negative one. One poll number at the end of last week had to be read twice: by 50%-46%, Gallup respondents said Obama doesn’t deserve re-election.

That the US president would be badly bruised politically by passing legislation to extend health care to millions of Americans – by legislation that would bring the US someway to being inline with the rest of the developed world (not to mention a number of developing countries), by legislation that is very similar to that enacted by a Republican Governor and presidential candidate, by legislation that had it’s intellectual origins at a Right Wing think tank – because the legislation’s opponents were able to promote it as draconian and socialist, seems utterly unfathomable to me.

Much is made of the importance of governance in development. Ergo the US, one of the world’s most developed countries, must be remotely well governed. So how in God’s name can the words President Palin actually have a plausible ring right now?

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