Thursday, February 3, 2011

2 Parties in 2 Worlds

Ezra comments on how the 2 parties view health-care reform efforts.
In a world where the two parties' top priority on health care was providing answers for the uninsured and cost control, an argument over the best way to do health-care reform would be a very healthy thing. But that's not what we've got. We've got the Democratic Party, whose top priority is to try and solve our health-care problems and who've shown their commitment to that by moving steadily rightward over the last century in a bid to pick up Republican support for some sort of solution, and the Republican Party, whose top priority is that we shouldn't do whatever the Democrats are proposing and have proven their commitment to that by abandoning previously favored policy proposals as soon as the Democrats demonstrated any interest in adopting them.
And that's the fundamental problem here: It's easy to compromise when both sides are committed to solving a problem, because the appeal of solving the the problem is enough to persuade both sides to make concessions. That's why Democrats gave up on single payer, on an employer mandate, on a public option. But it's impossible to compromise when one side is uninterested in solving the problem, as they lack the incentive to make any concessions. That's where the Republicans are on this, and it's why they've not been interested in joining onto a bill even when Bill Clinton moved to the right and adopted the core of Richard Nixon's plan and Barack Obama moved even further to the right and adopted the core of Mitt Romney and Bob Dole's plan.