January 20, 2010

Policy and Process

Of all the reaction to Scott Brown's election last night, Sen. Webb hit the nail on the head with this:

"In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated." (Emphasis mine)

The Massachusetts Senate race was about health care, but also about the process that designed the bill. People are angry about the secret deals being cut (see also: Nelson, Ben), the lobbyists running the show and the brazenly broken promises of conducting the debate in the open.

Glenn Greenwald sums up nicely on why Obama is hemorrhaging support for his bill:

A candidate who railed against secret deals and lobbyist influence negotiated this health care plan in secrecy with industry lobbyists, got caught entering into secret deals with the pharmaceutical industry, agreed to abandon his commitment to drug re-importation and bulk price negotiations in order to please the pharmaceutical lobby, and cavalierly refused to abide by his promise to conduct all negotiations out in the open.

Where the health care bill goes from here is anybody's guess, but the Democrats should realize that people across the political spectrum are rightfully unhappy with the bill. If they do not, you can expect an electoral bloodbath in November.