Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lessons About Insanity

Watching both the media and politicians when they've worked themselves into a pointless panicked tizzy is an act of frustration for us - one we've sadly experienced far too often during the last few years.

It's a situation similar to one we imagine New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie has been experiencing, in his not-so-conspicuous testing for a likely 2016 Presidential bid. Christie is a real conservative, no matter how hard some media hacks wish he were otherwise. Even if he's the kind of Republican many of the tea party faithful would label as a "traitor," he's really the only major, nationally-known, non-redstate success the GOP has right now.

Still, we've got little sympathy for Christie, who's also an unapologetic bully. He's made it clear he has no intention of engaging in some of the crazy positions these days that act as an entrance interview for Republican presidential aspirants. Yet that refusal to follow the crazies makes many in the extreme tea party right hate Christie almost as much as they hate President Obama - and it'll likely keep him out of the top spot on the national Republican ticket in 2016.

The one thing Democratic leaders could learn from Christie is to have a backbone, and maybe even play the bully themselves once in a while.

That much has become blindingly obvious this week as the Affordable Care Act's first enrollment numbers were released, even as the right wing banged the drum of their fake concern parade. From former President Clinton, to Washington Post writer Ezra Klein, and many in-between, Democrats have seemed more willing than ever to make stupid comments surrounding the ACA, playing right into the hands of the GOP.

To us, that kind of insane conduct is a perfect excuse to remind Democratic politicians and pundits of some key lessons about the ACA.

First, as Greg Sargent has said more times than even he probably cares to remember, "All that will really matter is whether [Obamacare] works over the long haul." To both politicians and pundits we say 'Screw the short-term thinking.' The 2014 elections aren't until almost a year from now. Most of what you do or say now isn't going to even be something voters and readers remember next year. All they'll care about is if they have insurance, and if it's better than what they had before. Focus on the successes - and ignore those who never wanted the program to work.

Secondly, a plan beats no plan, and a law sure as hell beats speculation. Republicans can complain all they want. But the key question MUST be asked of them every time they bitch and moan: Do you have a better idea? Other than Obamacare, which was originally an idea from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, right-wing pundits and politicians haven't put forward any real alternatives for YEARS now. Even the latest "conservative alternative" to the ACA in the Wall Street Journal isn't a real alternative. After all, it's not legislation in Congress yet, is it?

Finally, check who's doing the complaining. Have the whiners done anything to actually HELP Obamacare work better? Or have the whiners been causing problems every chance they get? Everyone knows Republicans have gummed up the rollout of Obamacare on purpose - yet NOW they want to say the whole ACA should be scrapped because it doesn't work properly? When it was their efforts that were a major part of the sabotage of the health care rollout?

No one is saying Healthcare.gov is going to work perfectly 100% of the time by the end of this month. But the health care system America is moving towards now is far better than the system we used to have.

Trying to go back to our old system now would be truly insane - something that not even the tea party crazies truly want.