More to the point, politics is also about morale and will as well as reason and moderation. I believe Obama has been both reasoned and moderate and civil in navigating between the Democratic Congress and the embittered, mutinous GOP. I don’t think his tone should change. But I do think that any surrender on health now would be a betrayal of his entire campaign. I don’t think the Senate bill is perfect; but it’s far far better than nothing. And not passing it means not passing anything and surrendering to forces that are as proto-fascist as any we have seen in recent times.
This is about more than health reform and we have to see it in that context. This is about a cynical nihilist attempt to break this presidency before it has had a chance to do what we elected it to do by a landslide vote. It is an attempt to destroy a majority’s morale, to break a president’s foreign policy autonomy, to prevent engagement in the Middle East peace process, to stop action on climate change, to restore torture, to increase tensions with the Muslim world, to launch a war on Iran. We cannot delude ourselves that if Obama fails, this is not the alternative. It is.
And we have to re-engage as powerfully as we did in the campaign to fight back against these now emboldened forces of reaction. I think this is true not just for the sake of the country but also for the sake of the GOP. The nihilist obstructionism and rhetoric they have embraced makes constitutional democracy close to impossible. Their total lack of any workable alternatives to dire problems is a form of degeneracy we have to avoid empowering.