Sunday, March 14, 2010


I spotted this sentence in Peter Baker's article on the health care battle in the New York Times Week in Review. Was Baker just lazily forgetting the sequence of events -- or is he really summarizing an emerging bit of conventional wisdom?

Already the [health care] fight has scarred Washington, leaving behind a polarized and angry political elite and questions about whether the system is broken.

Is that how we're going to remember the first two years of the Obama presidency? We're going to think that the health care fight caused the polarization and the anger and our elected officials' loss of the ability to govern?

We're going to forget that in January 2009, when health care reform was a faint glimmer on the horizon, the stimulus bill passed the House with no Republican votes? And only three in the Senate a couple of weeks later? We're going to forget that Rick Santelli's call for tea parties was back in February 2009, in response to mortgage bailout proposals? Or that the first protest organized by Keli "Liberty Belle" Carender, the nose-ringed Seattle woman who's now a liberal-media darling, also took place in February 2009, referring to the stimulus bill as "Porkulus"?

Are we going to forget that Rush Limbaugh first said "I hope he fails" in reference to Obama a few days before Obama's inaugural? Or that Rupert Murdoch put Glenn Beck on the Fox News airwaves for the first time a day before the inaugural? Or that a key operative for Dick Armey's Freedomworks was boasting about using Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals as an organizing tool as early two weeks after the inaugural?

The system was broken long before health care went onto the front burner. And Democrats and the White House weren't the ones who broke it.

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