As Daniel Henninger writes, so much of government boils down to one simple question: “Do they work for us, or do we work for them?”
With the health-care bill faltering in Congress, the ritual weeping has begun over the death, once again, of “bipartisanship.”
The belief that the answer to any problem lies with “the center” may be the greatest superstition in the ever-magical world of American politics.
Mostly it is journalists and pundits who propagate the notion that crazies on the left and right have neutered the problem-solving center, the moderates, the pragmatists.
In fact, the bipartisan center has been dying every year since Congress passed the Medicare and Medicaid bill of 1965. The people who back then were staffers to the politicians and agencies of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society graduated into the offices they now hold in Congress, the Beltway, many state capitals and academia, taking a second generation into their belief system. That included Barack Obama.
With President Obama’s health-care bill, the forces that across 40 years grew into unbridgeable opposition to each other could not be more plain to see. American politics has arrived at a crossroads.
This struggle over health-care legislation isn’t just another battle between the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s about which force is going to take the United States forward for the next generation: the public sector or the private sector. If by now you haven’t figured out which sector you are in, then you’re a Blue Dog Democrat.
The Blue Dogs and other moderates have been sliding to this final dilemma for years. The issue is not whether one is for or against “government.” The issue is: Do they work for us, or do we work for them?