Separating the "Reformers" from the Radicals

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jan 21, 2010 4:53 PM
As Meredith noted below, there are people in the Obama camp who are simply unwilling to surrender the dream of a huge-scale "reform" of health care that would involve the government taking over, for the most part.

In the days going forward, it will be interesting to see the reactions from different Democrat constituencies.  On the one hand, there are the "reformers" -- the people who, in good faith, thought  the health care system needed sweeping change and were willing to support it.  Those, for the most part, now "get" the fact that Americans hated what they were trying to dish up, and are willing to back off.

On the other hand, there are the radicals (many in the Obama camp) who aren't going to go quietly into the good night.  That's because, for them, health care wasn't just about health care -- not even close.  Instead, health care was a political exercise.

Passing a government behemoth program wasn't primarily about improving care or lowering costs.  Rather, they saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to "lock in" a permanent political advantage for liberals.  Once a program was in place, the debate about the role of government would largely end.  Elections would play out on liberal territory -- the only debate would be "how much" government.  And that's a debate that the left (what with the scare tactics about evil Republicans) figured would offer them a permanent leg up.

So take a look.  The more ugly and unhappy a Democrat is at the thought of giving up a huge health care bill . . . the more that -- for that Dem -- it really wasn't about health care at all.