Well, it’s pretty much a done deal for the time being. Being somewhat of a political junkie, I’ve at least enjoyed the last few weeks of back and forth on the health care bill even if I’m not thrilled with the outcome.
I’m till distilling my thoughts on this one, so I intend to wait a day or two before I try and put them down in some sort of cogent manner. For the time being, it’s probably not over stating what happened tonight as a seminal moment in American politics and economics. Whether it remains so will depend upon the electorate eventually (thank God). I doubt it will ever be repealed but that doesn’t mean that we now have a law written in stone.
Like it or not, we will not go back to the system we have come to love or hate. There may be some retreat but it will not be to the status quo ante. Where we end up will likely be messy business as politics in a democracy tend to be. Probably it will be something that is uniquely American and much different than Obama and the technocrats might prefer.
I’ll put myself in the optimist camp at this point in time. I’ve an abiding faith in the ability of the American people to solve these sorts of problems. What we have seen in this first pass at reform of a great and at the same time flawed medical care system has been a victory for the class of politicians who believe they can order and manage a massive piece of the economy. As they will inevitably fail in that task, the opportunity to take the good pieces from this legislation and graft it onto something that removes the power from Washington and puts it back into the hands of the individuals will come to the fore.
It won’t be an easy journey and having seized this power the political class is unlikely to cede it without a fight but it will happen. The seminal moment that occurred tonight wasn’t the passage of this legislation. It was a decision by an elected majority to enact a major piece of social legislation in defiance of the obvious animosity towards it by a majority of the electorate. We will soon see if their arrogance is grounded in the realistic assumption that they the citizenry will grudgingly accept this outcome or assert their power and send another change message.