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Posted by on Nov 18, 2009 in Health, Politics | 8 comments

Health Care Reform: Celebrate, Don’t Deride, the Doubters

I’m a day or more late to this meme and many others have already chimed in. So be it. I’ll now add my voice to those who have risen to the defense of the Senate 3 — Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) — who are “proving tough sells” on health care reform.

Importantly, I rise to the defense of the Senate 3 as someone who would actually like to see reform enacted; as someone who believes the 80/20 rule ought to be applied in this case, i.e., if the Senate bill they finally consider is 80% right, they should allow it to precede to floor debate.

Hence, I rise to the defense of the Senate 3 not because I entirely agree with their dissent, but because I appreciate what they represent: The very type of check-and-balance our founders envisioned when they ratified the framework under which our government would operate.

Those who disagree with me might argue that our founders never expected a handful of people to thwart the will of the many. Perhaps. But a handful of people have long thwarted the will of the many in this, our Republic. Quite recently, in fact, a handful of people almost thwarted the will of the many in the House of Representatives — on this very same issue. Had a handful of people in the House voted “no” rather than “yes,” that 220-215 approval could have been a 217-218 rejection.

So it’s not unusual for a handful of people to stand in the breach — on principle (or not) — and threaten to stop what might otherwise seem an inevitable conclusion. And even when such action frustrates me, or you, we should have the common sense to appreciate and applaud it — because on the next issue, where we legitimately fear a certain outcome, we might just discover there’s a handful of people who stop a runaway train, to our great relief.

We can’t enjoy the latter unless we accept the former.

So all hail the Senate 3: Nelson, Landrieu, and Lincoln. Agree with these Senators or not, they’re doing the job they were elected to do.