The national debate on health care took an ominous turn last week as a number of high profile Democrats beginning with former President Jimmy Carter argued that critics of the Obama Administration have latched on to this debate as a way of voicing their latent racism and anti-Black bigotry. The worst chief executive of the twentieth century dismissed tea party protestors as sore losers who cannot accept the painful reality that an African-American man is now the President of the United States. The fact of the matter is that since 1980 Jimmy Carter has been unable to accept the painful reality that someone other than himself has been the President of the United States, but that is the subject of an entirely different column. Carter’s “racism” salvo has ignited a broadside of covering fire from fellow Democrats and mainstream media allies who now solemnly pontificate about the racism of the anti-Obama protests. In reality, this ludicrous racism charge shows that the protestors and, by extension, the Republican Party are winning the argument and is a sign of growing desperation on the Democratic side as they see a policy debate begin to slip from their grasp. The Republicans, emboldened by the protests, have shown a surprising vigor and are shaking off some of their post-election lethargy and behaving like a political party once again. Still, the road just ahead for the GOP is fraught with peril.
Right now a Senate committee including Republicans Charles Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Mike Enzi of Wyoming are negotiating with the Democrats to craft a bi-partisan bill to forward for full Senate consideration. The talks seem to have broken down, but weak-kneed Republicans might very well buckle to intimidation, especially now that the apparition of the dread racism charge is rearing its ugly head. In addition, the Republican Ghost of Failures Past, Bob Dole, emerged last week to announce that health care is a basic human right and to state that the country should have passed ClintonCare in the early 1990s. Furthermore, the ex-Senate Majority Leader publicly lamented his role in having allowed partisan politics to spike such noble legislation. He seems to forget that the country had little enthusiasm for a Democratic Party takeover of health care then either.