What does it say that the American polity has consistently rejected a wholesale government takeover of health care for 100 years?
What does it say that Democrats are having this much difficulty enacting their health care legislation despite unified Democratic rule? Despite large supermajorities in both chambers of Congress, including a once-filibuster-proof Senate majority (see more below)? Despite an opportunistic change in Massachusetts law that provided that crucial 60th vote at a crucial moment? Despite a popular and charismatic president?
What does it say that 38 House Democrats voted against the president’s health plan?
What does it say that Massachusetts voters elected, to fill the term of Ted Kennedy, a Republican who ran against the health care legislation that Kennedy helped to shape?
What does it say that the only thing bipartisan about that legislation is the opposition to it?
What does it say that 39 senators voted to declare that legislation’s centerpiece unconstitutional?
What does it say that health care researchers – a fairly left-wing lot – think the Senate bill is unconstitutional?
What does it say that House Democrats are actually contemplating a legislative strategy that would deem the Senate bill to have passed the House – without the House ever actually voting on it?
Given that ours is a system of government where ambition is made to counteract ambition, what does it mean that the only way to pass this legislation is for the House to trust that the Senate will keep the House’s interests at heart?