Thursday, March 29, 2012

Constitutional oddities

So, I guess from the right wing point of view it is unconstitutional to mandate that everyone buys private health insurance (Obamacare), but it is constitutional to mandate that everyone buy government health insurance (Medicare and Social Security).  So, I guess that the right wing point of view is that it would be constitutional to have Medicare for everyone in the nation rather than just everyone in the nation that is 65 or over?

Poor Romney, he led a conservative triumph in Massachusetts when he signed Romneycare by stopping the left wing drive for a single payer (government) statewide health plan and instituted the conservative Heritage Foundation idea of offering universal health care by using the market rather than the government - i.e. by mandating that everyone in the state buy insurance, with subsidies to those who couldn't afford to.  Viola!  universal coverage provided by the market!  A completely conservative, market oriented solution designed to create a system where market forces would create the most efficient and cost effective health system.  Government bad, market good - the fundamental requirement for a conservative idea.

That is, it was a brilliant right wing idea until Obama adopted it and it became a bad left wing idea that was an attempt to force people to buckle under to the tyrannical left wing government on the way to a socialist takeover of everyone's freedoms.  

It's just one tribe fighting the other tribe with no attention being paid to the merits of anything.  Perhaps it is a result of a legal mindset that has taken over congress, inhabited mostly by lawyers.  The definition of a good lawyer seems to be that he or she can argue either side of any issue depending on who is paying them.  The issue doesn't matter, the arguments don't matter, just the winning matters.  Same thing for the endlessly exhausting culture wars in this country.  It seems to me that Obamacare and Romneycare are perfect examples of arguing for and against the same thing depending on whose ox gets to be gored.  

In a way, this current political environment in which the only thing that matters is winning looks to me like it is a parallel to what has happened to Wall Street, where the only thing that matters is making money.  When all other considerations are thrown away, everything goes out of balance and things are destroyed - millions of jobs destroyed when the financial system got so out of balance that it almost destroyed capitalism itself, and the ability of our politicians to govern is being destroyed by the polarization getting so out of balance that democracy itself is being compromised.

Lord, I'm sick of it all, but we have a whole presidential and congressional campaign ahead of us of vitriolic exaggeration and bile.  I send some prayers to our body politic for some soothing of the rhetoric, some listening to the ideas rather than just attacking of the enemies, and to that most hated word to the extremes - compromise - which is a synonym for another word - politics.