When Democrats pursue centrist solutions to problems, Republicans react as though we were all just herded onto collective farms.
Jul 03, 2012
Yes, they actually believe this. (Flickr/Peter Vidrine)
If you knew nothing about what was in the Affordable Care Act, the picture you saw last Thursday of liberals celebrating and conservatives lamenting the end of American liberty would have convinced you that a monumental shift to the left had just taken place. Was the military budget cut by two-thirds, or higher education made free for all Americans, you might have asked? At the very least, a universal public health insurance program must have been established. But no, the greatest ideological battle in decades was fought over a law that solidifies the position of private health insurance companies.
That isn't to ignore that those companies will be subject to greater regulation outlawing their cruelest abuses of their customers, and millions will be added to the insurance program for the poor. The ACA is a very, very good thing, but after its full implementation we will still have the least socialized health care system of any advanced country in the world. Yet to hear the ACA's opponents tell it, the law will twist America into a socialist republic just a couple of short steps from Poland circa 1972. In other words, Democrats managed to pass a useful but rather centrist social reform, and Republicans reacted as though all private property were confiscated and we were herded onto collective farms. It's enough to make one wonder what might have happened if a real-live liberal were to become president, and pursue an agenda that even remotely resembles the caricature Republicans present of Barack Obama's.