As Bill rightly points out, even once health care legislation becomes law, the fight is far from over. Media insiders are already starting to paint a new narrative: health care reform means the Dems are doomed in November and will have to spend the next 7 months justifying their votes. David Gregory, Chuck Todd, David Broder and the rest are drooling over this simplistic narrative, but we don’t have to accept it, and the Democrats certainly should not. The question for November should be: how will Republicans, who voted en masse against basic, incremental reform, justify their votes?
Instead of falling back into their standard defensive crouch, Democrats ought to go on offense.
Republicans have been lying about death panels for months: make them show evidence of these mythical beasts once the bill becomes law. Identify people who are helped by the legislation–25 years old who desparately need coverage for a serious medical condition, couldn’t get insurance before, but can now be covered by their parents’ insurance. Hold press conferences with people who used to sleep in parking lots to get medical attention and will now get affordable coverage that allows them to maintain their dignity–and demand to know why the Republicans voted in favor of these Americans continuing to sleep in parking lots for healthcare.
At least one Republican observer (David Frum) recognizes that the health care vote may be one party’s Waterloo after all–the Republicans’. This won’t happen on its own, though. Rightwingers will keep whining about Socialist-Marxist-fascism descending on the United States and media insiders will eagerly accept the assumption that it is Democrats who must defend their modest vote for basic decency. Democrats aren’t so good at playing offense, but now is the time. Hang the Republicans’ vote around their necks and make them explain why they voted in favor of making Americans surrender their dignity when they need basic medical attention. Rightwingers never stop fighting. It’s time for Democrats to start.