Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Protesting too much?

I've seen a lot of Republicans claiming that the government can't provide good services. Today, for example, Bobby Jindal suggests that this is the case because the Bush administration's FEMA couldn't respond well to Katrina.

You know, I think this is exactly what Republicans fear about government involvement in health care. Just imagine if your health care was denied for spurious reasons, and you were in the public plan... you'd call up your Senator or Representative and tell them to do something about it. You'd be on all over them, right? You'd have something that focused your mind on whether or not the government worked, whether it did the job you were paying for.

For a good many years, since Reagan, that's been the Republican mantra - "Government is the problem". They want to cut regulations (remember the peanut recall? sensible regulations could have prevented the salmonella infection, and made it easy to trace if it had happened) and taxes, because that makes their interest groups (read as: the wealthy and big business) happy.

But what if people had a reason to pay attention to governance? What if they had a vested interest, a direct interest, in a branch of the government?

You'd have an awfully hard time telling people that government is the Big Bad, then. You'd have to make certain parts of the government (such as the public plan) work well. And suddenly, you couldn't claim the government was always inefficient and always a problem, and suddenly, you'd have to come up with actual ideas, and real arguments, about why any given problem should, or shouldn't, be owned by the government.

I don't blame them for being scared.

But that's not a good reason to try to scuttle health care reform.

And let's face it; in the long run, it'll be good for them as a party to have to confront new ideas and create new arguments.

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