Even if Republicans take back both houses of Congress this year, they should not cheer too loudly. They were soundly repudiated just two short years ago (how soon we forget), as the Democrats will be this time around. What does this tell us? It tells me that Congress, ever more beholden to special interests and to their lobbyists, has strayed so far from representing their constituents that neither party speaks for us anymore. Unfortunately, in a two-party system,, the only choice we have is to go with the other guy, even if the other guy was the guy you threw out last time. Sadly, the Republican party we are about to empower has been pushed so far to the right that it no longer embodies what used to be called conservatism. It is now a radical, reflexively anti-government, anti-tax party with an agenda so bizarre that it is incapable of solving our problems, or even addressing them coherently.
At risk is the new health care law, which has only begun to take effect. The lies being told about it by candidates eager to overturn it are outrageous. That it will raise taxes. It won’t. That it’s the cause of the increased cost of health insurance premiums. As if they weren’t going up by staggering amounts before. That it’s government-run health care. No, it’s not. That it cuts hundreds of millions from Medicare. No, it doesn’t. What it does do, which its opponents are careful not to mention, is give 30 million Americans who were locked out of the system access to health insurance, and it ends the most abusive practices of the insurance industry. Is it perfect? No, not by a long shot. It’s a beginning, not an end, of health care reform. The only alternative the Republicans propose is to go back to the unsustainable status quo, in which you can’t get insurance if you’re sick, you get kicked off if you get sick, and costs continue to spiral out of control. Is that what we really want?