Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mach and Cheese (slightly edited to add conclusion)

Was thrilled to see my favorite Machiavelli quote used to discuss health care reform:

"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger."
Lind does a good job of showing how apt this quote is for understanding why health care reform is so very difficult.

The only good news about all of this is that it is early enough in Obama's term that it will probably not influence 2012 although it will almost certainly influence the midterm elections.

Of course, the point of all this is not merely to keep offices but to actually do stuff that matters, to improve the US condition, to make progress. I sometimes lose track of that and focus just on the winning and losing of offices. Hmmm. I guess I should just keep in mind the bumper sticker I saw yesterday by someone who was on the losing side of 2008--something about how do you feel about progress and hope now? And, I gotta say, I feel pretty damn good, especially as opposed to the alternatives. Can you imagine a McCain/Palin administration dealing with the economic challenges, the auto industry, etc? We are better off than we were this time last year and better off than we would be without a smart, flexible, adaptable President. Obama is not perfect, particularly how he and his team have played the health care game. But the imperfections are ones we can understand and tolerate, I think.

No comments: