Politics vs. Policy
It’s thrilling to see Rachel Maddow continue each night to point out the Republican’s hypocrisy in favoring politics over policy – trashing bills that they know have substance and will be good for their constituents. I really enjoy watching her show every day. I think I’ve learned more from it than any other news program on television.
It occurs to me that President Obama is doing something similar with health care, isn’t he? He’s continuing to try bipartisan measures in a congressional climate where they are just not going to be effective, and in doing so jeopardizes the policy that would be good for the American people. Isn’t continuing to reach across the aisle some measure of theatrics, where Obama wants to be seen as the guy who tries to work with everyone? Isn’t it about his image as a man of the people, rather than real reform?
And I don’t think that the tone of politics in Washington can be changed merely by “doing the opposite” of partisan bickering. Swimming against a rising tide is not necessarily the answer. There’s a reason why politics have arrived at the place they’re at right now. It seems to be that standing back and trying to understand why the tide is coming in the way it is right now is the key to fixing that.
It’s true there’s a major logjam in politics right now, but is he there to fix that problem, or is he there to get good legislation on behalf of the American people? It doesn’t seem like he can do both, and it seems like the latter should trump the former on the agenda. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and in truth, it’s more important to help the American people than to please them – especially when so many people have no idea what they really want, but it’s pretty clear what they need.