Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shock defeat forces Obama to rethink healthcare reforms.

I find this staggering. The news of the Democratic defeat in Massachusetts is leading people to say this:

"The result is phenomenal. Obama will have no choice. This president will have to move to the centre as all presidents before him have done," Winn said.
Has he ever been anywhere else? If he were a left wing president wouldn't the healthcare bill have a public option? Or a single payer system?

And did Bush, "move to the centre as all presidents have done"? No, he remained as right wing as one could ever dread a president could be, to the extent that his Vice President and his VP's daughter now publicly argue that the US should use torture.

The right wing are calling for war crimes to be committed and TV commentators are backing them up as they do so, but we are now being told that Obama is too left wing to be acceptable?

But, strangely, Obama is taking a lot of this on the chin:

In an ABC television interview last night, Obama attributed the defeat, in part, to economic woes inherited from the Bush administration: "The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

But he went on to accept a degree of blame for Democrats' plunging poll ratings: "We've had to make some decisions that weren't popular. We've made some mistakes. I, personally, have made some mistakes."

One failing, Obama said, was a sense of losing touch with the public: "We were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost that sense of, you know, speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are."

Accepting that the public detected a sense of "remoteness and detachment" from the government, Obama pledged to slow down and "spread out what we do so it's not so cram-packed".

"It doesn't mean I back off the agenda of healthcare or energy or financial regulatory reform or dealing with our deficits but it doesn't have to be all on top of each other, piled on," said the US president.

As I said the other day, I think Obama is paying for the Republican mess he inherited and for the public's belief that he could bring about "change" in record time.

Obama has brought about change, the US is less loathed now than at any time over the Bush years, but the economy is a big beast to turn around, although it is slowly moving in the right direction.

But, the notion that Obama has been too left wing is only possible to believe if one takes all of one's news from Fox.

I've said it before but there really doesn't appear to be anything one can do - including torturing people - to be called too right wing in the US. But, wanting a universal healthcare system, something which has been a Democratic aim for as long as I can remember, and something which is provided in every major industrialised nation in the world, is somehow a step too far towards the left.

What is happening in America, where it is okay to torture people but it is unacceptable to provide your citizens with healthcare?

Has it really come to this, that torture is acceptable but universal healthcare is too left wing?

What has happened to the morals of any society where that argument could be feasibly made?

Click here for full article.

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