Representatives Dave Reichert and Jay Inslee both spoke briefly on the floor of the House during yesterday’s health care reform debate; not surprisingly, Reichert spoke out in opposition to the bill, while Inslee spoke in its support.
But it was interesting to see both Republican Reichert and Democrat Inslee make freedom of choice a lynchpin of their divergent arguments:
Putting aside the obvious irony of Reichert making a pro-choice appeal, the fact that opposing sides could make the same basic argument in service of competing causes, shows just how muddled, confusing and hopeless this debate really is. If Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on the meaning of the word “choice,” how can they possibly agree on something as complex as health care reform?
Of course, they can’t, which is why the mythical beast known as bipartisanship was never going to rear its head in this debate.
For the past few years Democrats campaigned vigorously on health care reform, and the American people rewarded them with control of both Congress and the White House. As a result, the American people were going to get a Democratic health care plan if they were going to get anything at all, whether the Republicans chose to constructively participate in the process or not.
The Republicans lost this debate not yesterday, not last week or last month, or even during the long year in which this bill has made its torturous way through Congress. No, the Republicans lost this debate in 2006 and 2008, when voters resoundingly decided to place their confidence in Democrats, not Republicans, to solve our nation’s most pressing problems.
These are the voters to whom Congress fulfilled a promise yesterday, and if voters in 2010 and 2012 aren’t happy about it, they will be free to toss the Democrats out. And that is a definition of “choice” on which I hope both sides can agree.