Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not So Fast—It Aint Over ‘Til It’s Over

Mark Twain’s comment that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” can easily apply to health reform. Many media outlets, and health reform opponents, have proclaimed the “death” of, or at the very least, ”critically-ill” and on life-support, the Democrats’ and President Barack Obama’s health reform legislation.

The Economist magazine and Minority leader Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, on NBC’s Meet the Press on January 24, said that the Democrats need to “Rip it up and start again.” Republican leaders claim gleefully that Scott Brown’s election to fill Democratic icon Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat for Massachusetts “will prove the death blow” for national health reform.

And The Chicago Tribune, a traditionally conservative daily newspaper, in a January 20 editorial wrote that “Had Obama taken a tougher stance toward his own party—shown a bit more audacity—…the health care plan might have focused on incremental, broadly popular [with whom?] changes that could have attracted significant Republican support. Instead, he now finds himself…in danger of losing the health care battle anyway.”

Even Michael Winship, senior writer for Bill Moyers’ “Journal,” bemoaned in a January 24 truthout op-ed the “collapse of health care reform as Democrats scurried for the exits,” in the aftermath of Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was said to have bragged about all the dollars it poured into Mr. Brown’s campaign and that his victory "could pay immediate dividends by throwing into question the future of health care reform legislation pending in Congress."

But, as Mr. Winship writes, “this is no time to run and hide,” and, using labor activist Joe Hill’s final words, he urges: “Don't mourn, organize.” Progressives are doing just that. Don’t count health reform out just yet.


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