Health care reform seems to be the main topic of political discussion lately. The dems have big plans to transform a system that polls show most Americans are fundamentally satisfied with. While few Americans are lining up to drink the Kool-Aid of comprehensive "health care reform", most people would support some tinkering around the edges. There is no shortage of ideas from both sides.
The problem seems to be a partisan divide on which ideas should be incorporated. Conservatives favor tort reform, expanded interstate competition, and modifications to improve portability of existing coverage so you wouldn't fear losing your coverage if you lost your job, for instance. Liberals want a single payer takeover of all health care, or failing that, a public option that would compete with private insurance companies, albeit a bit unfairly. No matter how lousy the public option turned out to be, or how much money it lost, the government could just keep bailing it out with our tax dollars. Think the US Postal Service or AMTRAK. Failing that, the dems might settle for a system that mandates all citizens purchase coverage under threat of fines or jail time for non-compliance. Of course they'd subsidize the poor by cutting Medicare and ballooning the deficit.
The partisan part comes into play in that the liberals won't accept any of the conservatives' ideas, and the conservatives won't accept any of the liberals' ideas. Many in the country are bemoaning the partisan gridlock and calling for bipartisanship. Some sort of compromise to meet in the middle. I think that is a terrible idea. There is nothing wrong with partisanship. Margaret Thatcher once said, "There are still people in my party who believe in consensus politics. I regard them as Quislings, as traitors... I mean it." A little harsh perhaps, but Mrs Thatcher has always been regarded as a woman who speaks her mind. There is no consensus. Why must we dedicate ourselves to hammering out a consensus when none exists. I support conservative goals, and I abhor the liberals' agenda. The liberals feel the same way in reverse. Gridlock under these circumstances is good. I would consider it a poor bargain if the conservatives got everything they wanted in return for accepting even a little bit of the liberal plan. That compromise would be worse than nothing at all. And you know conservatives won't fare that well in the bargain. If anything, we'll end up with the liberal plan with some phony tort reform thrown in as a bone to the conservatives. Our Dear Leader offered as much in his "You Lie" speech to the Joint Session. Then they'll deflect the blame for a horrible piece of legislation by claiming it was a bipartisan compromise supported by both parties. Please!! Glenn Beck had the right idea. Until our legislators show some sign of responsible government in the peoples interest, the best option is to "Just Say No." Gridlock is good. Nothing coming out of Congress and we'd all be better off. I've often thought that a candidate for Congress might do quite well with the electorate if he just promised to do nothing! He could stay home in his pajamas watching Jerry Springer for his entire two year or six year term, and the republic would be better off for it.
Partisanship is not a dirty word. Compromise is not always a virtuous goal. Mark Steyn summed it up well with an analogy he used regarding our support for the UN. He was referring to the way liberal democracies demean their principles and legitimize rogue governments when we hob nob as equals with a pack of thugs and two bit dictators. I believe his analogy is equally relevant to our abandoning our principles in the name of seeking compromise in the health care debate. Mark said essentially, and I'm paraphrasing, that if you mix a quart of ice cream and a quart of dog shit, its gonna taste more like dog shit than ice cream.