Friday, December 18, 2009

The politics of health care reform

Sean Trende makes a pretty good argument that passing health care reform is tantamount to political suicide for many Democrats. So why does most of the party remain so gung-ho on it? I think Kim Strassel has the answer:
So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.
Some Democrats will lose, but most -- safely ensconced in liberal bastions -- will survive. And the long-term victory will be enormous.

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