I read this book recently and I agree with the GOP that we should not be trying to “force one size fits all” down everyone’s throat:
Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care…
Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform [Daschle, Tom…
There are some really, really unhappy things mentioned in this book as well:
What can you do when:
- You waited an entire year and put in thousands of ideas from the GOP into the bill, and yet not one of them will vote for you?
- You bring everyone to the table and ask them what you can do to satisfy them, and they say effectively say “nothing, not matter what you do, I will not vote for this bill?”
- You read about people you used to respect doing the worst, partisan things just so they can “look good”, and get the votes and stay in power and relevance?
- Apparently, nobody wants to do the right thing; and if you do it anyway, you get trounced in the elections?
- The few people who did do the right thing, were fired after the next election?
- Why do anything at all? It seems that it is better to just sit with your own group, make noises, keep fighting and do nothing.
If the Government is the controlling software for the program aka the Country, it has completely gone AWOL; it just sits there being happy with itself doing nothing for the Country, only enriching itself and its own personal interests, while the country slowly but surely decays around it.
The problem as I see it is that there is no incentive for the GOP to play ball for the good of the country. They just want to regain power, and we have seen the extent to which they will go to get it.
The problem is that whenever they are in the minority, they get to eat their cake and have it too. They simply have no incentive to be bipartisan.
One of the reasons, they have no incentive to work in a bipartisan manner is because whether they work with the Democrats or not, their constituents still get to enjoy the benefits of the Democrat’s labors.
Take the ACA as an example, when it passed, even though it did not get a single GOP vote, a lot of the law protected the GOP senators and reps constituents as well.
So, they basically got to enjoy the benefits of the ACA without doing anything but try to disrupt it for more than a year. This is inspite of the fact that it has tons of GOP ideas in it as well, and it was based on the MA plan implemented by a GOP senator who was the MA Governor at the time.
The Democrats need to understand that if reform continues to happen no matter who I voted for in the last election, I have no incentive at all to vote differently or to even care to vote at all to begin with. This is why people vote for people who look like them, or talk/ hate like them and do nothing really to benefit anyone else.
The Democrats need to stand their ground and stop playing the defensive game which has only given them heartbreak all these years. As a French writer once wrote, if you are always the person being chased, you will forever be the victim, giving the upper hand to the other person.
The Democrats need to stop running and take a stand. Stop trying to appease everyone, and move their agenda forward for their constituents, and show the people voting the crazies into office that their vote does matter and affect them tangibly.
Clearly, the GOP have not changed and they won’t lift a finger to help the common man. We have seen that in the horrible past four years.
The GOP wins because when they are in the majority, they do nothing; they are the party of “do nothing” which makes it easy for them & when the Democrats are in the majority, they always get to eat the cake and have it too.
Democrats need to change the Game
I say — let us give them exactly what they want. Take the COVID-19 relief bill which is currently blockaded by the GOP.
We can significantly bring down the cost of the total bill, if we send this relief only to the constituents of the senators and reps who have voted for this bill. And there are different ways of slicing & dicing this if we want to:
- “Split by Constituents” Option 1: Apply only to constituents of senators and reps who vote for the bill.
- “Split by States” Option 2: Apply only to states where state legislators vote to accept the provisions of the bill (let them decide).
- “A/ B Test” Option 3: Pass the GOP version of the any bill only for red states (any state can ratify it if they want to). This is a very common scenario in software today. We can try out both options splitting the states between the options, and see what works better than the other. The better option wins after the trial — but in this case, the states who don’t want to “unify” for the best option can vote to stay with the worse option if the want to.
I am sure someone well versed with federal and state law, can figure out ten more ways of passing the bill in such a way that it costs significantly less, and the responsibility of it reaching the people is placed back on the senators and reps who decided to vote or not against the bill.
I honestly don’t understand at this point why the whole country has to either go for it OR not, because the minority does not agree. That’s fine — I say, let us give them what they are asking for.
If 51 senators vote to give their constituents COVID-19 relief, and better healthcare, let us clearly give the people an opportunity to see exactly the results of choosing not to vote for the bill means. Until this happens, this is all just a game played in Washington which will just keep going round and round in circles.
If we do this, I don’t see why we can’t solve the major problems of the day:
Want one federal website for enrolling people for healthcare + Public Insurance Option?
Do it! and let the states vote for whether they want to join this or not.
If they don’t let them not — but other states can still join. At this point, I do not understand why states who want to join are prevented from joining merely because some others don’t want to.
Maybe some states just want to see other states succeed at something before “jumping in”.
I don’t see the problem in 15 states deciding to go “full-on” ACA and the rest opting to stay out of major portions of it. The way I see it 15 states with the full ACA is better than zero. It is still a very large number of people covered, and it will still probably bring down costs more than the piecemeal approach we have currently.
Democrats need to stop butting their heads into the GOP wall over & over again, and figure out creative ways of getting out of the GOP blockade. It can be done. We just need to think outside the box.
Want a 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill?
Do it! and let states decide whether they want to get the relief money or not.
If they don’t — well & good! that will bring down the overall cost of the bill. It will be well below a trillion dollars, and we can thank the GOP for sponsoring to bring the deficit down, with their constituents.
Want reasonable Gun laws?
Do it! But let the states decide whether they want to “ratify it” or not.
Let the blue states choose peace over guns, let the red states run amok with all kinds of automatic weapons. Let the people of he red states choose peace over mayhem when they see the difference.
Why does everyone need to be forced into it? Let us give them the option to wait and watch and decide what to do.
It is a free country, if you don’t like your state, perhaps we can start free programs to relocate you to a better one.
What about Compassion?
It is a valid point to argue whether we should abandon the Democrats in the red states?
In my opinion that is not the case at all. What I am proposing here could be the path to the solution. We need to elect the right people as congressmen and senators. The problem is that people have given up on politicians — even at the worst of the pandemic, less than 70% of the people voted in the election. That is about the most we can ever expect to happen in real life.
The only way to get more people to vote is to have them see that good politicians stay, while bad ones are voted out. The only way to do that is to disincentivize the bad actors.
This is only going to happen when their constituents can fully see, and experience the results of the voting choices of their Senators & Reps
Perhaps when they see less violence, better medical care, larger social safety net in the next city, county or state they can see — they must see the difference it makes in their life.
Not everybody is going to leave the red states; many of them are going to “vote right” the next time.
Even the most hard core republican voter & QAnon fanatic is going to change their vote when the ACA as an example covers their or their kids condition during a serious illness.
Perhaps, they just happened to be in a blue county, or they moved to a blue county to get better treatment, and they eventually come back home and vote right.There are so many examples of this already in the news.
People change; sometimes they vote just because they have given upon on every politician they have seen before and they want something different next time — even if it comes garbed in horrible robes of chaos and anarchy. That is what one of my friends told me.
He is a great guy; you would never think of this soft spoken, gentle person as someone who would vote for “he who shall not be named”. But he did — because “he wanted change”, because “Hillary and Biden have been there forever and they did nothing for the past ~40 years”
This is the problem for Democrats, the perception that “They did nothing in the past ~40 years”.
Democrats need to move forward and not waste time and energy trying to be bipartisan.
Imagine an entire year with a 60 vote super majority wasted!
How much could have been done in that year? They should have just gone forward and voted it through, and then perhaps amended it over time to perfect it, getting some GOP votes if possible over time. Instead they barely got the bill through and it is not perfect. It is just time wasted.
For the party which does nothing; that is exactly what the GOP managed to accomplish in the end even with the Democrats in the majority. They did their job extremely well; they stuck to their agenda through thick & thin, now can the Democrats do the same please?
If you want change, and the GOP is blockading — you should go ahead and exclude them from eating and having the cake, and let them be replaced by their constituents when they want to replace them.
Stop trying to drag the kicking and screaming baby through the hallway. Just let it be. When it gets hungry, it will crawl back to mommy all by itself as long as it can see mommy seated on the dining table where food is served.
Let us run some Simulations
Let us assume, we went with my approach for the ACA. You should know that I have gone through more than 48 hours of video on Youtube about the ACA, and read both the books from Obama as well as Tim Daschle about it, so I know what I am talking about here.
- Democrats put the house bill together
- Democrats put the senate bill together
- They merge both bills
- They pass the bill “well before August” as they mention as their original goal in the book.
Now, you have an ACA and you still have maybe 3–4 months to go and perfect it to some extent.
How we would deal with the GOP
There are many options here, all of which are not bad ideas:
- The bill states that the state legislatures have to ratify it to take effect fully; although some portions of it may not need ratification (things where GOP people silently agree with).
Know that at this time, the GOP has been “defanged” to some extent already because they can no longer claim that the Democrats are forcing something through a one size fits all approach — if their states do not want to ratify some provisions, they are welcome to do that.
Now, that the red states are “left alone”, the GOP would try to pressure the Democrats by staging demonstrations and protests in the blue states against the ACA.
This approach will not be that effective; but from the book, we know this happened. What we would do in this situation, to reduce the temperature is to call for a referendum vote.
Prove that this is a non-issue. Prove that the majority of the people are for the change you are bringing. Until you prove it categorically, fake right wing media is going to sprout fake news to brainwash people.
Healthcare is a pretty big deal for everyone. If pressure builds against it in the blue states, even after the state legislature ratifies the bill, let the state call for a referendum vote — either in the state level or the county level (I’m sure someone can come up with a better plan than me) to let the people vote to choose what they want to do.
Democrats need to trust that if they are doing the right thing, their constituents will come through for them, either passing the bill in the state legislatures OR by passing it via the referendum vote.
It’s ok — let the people decide and reaffirm. Whatever we do, it needs to be better than what we did previously. We have to move ahead; we have to forge forward inspite of the challenges.
The other option is to let them pass their own version of the damn bill and let the red states ratify that instead. This is perfectly fine in my opinion; after the A/ B test scenario plays out their will either come to their senses and adopt the ACA or they will continue with their lousy plan and eventually get voted out by their own constituents.
Democrats should aim to have the GOP get voted out by their own constituents instead of getting into a fight with them where they can just stick together and stay in power, while mouthing all the falsehoods and alternative facts they want to. This is not working; it is time to call their bluff and let their constituents know the results of their own plans and actions.
People mostly just want to see the wheels of Goverment grinding and doing something, anything really to make a positive difference in their lives. If they see that they can make a difference, they will engage; they will vote; and they will vote right.
This is messy, but doable. The Democrats need to pass their bills and move their agenda ahead, and then go back and perfect it later via amendments. This will give them results which are more effective than the “bipartisan” approach — let’s face it many of these guys were part of the civil war the last time because they could not even agree that slavery was evil.
One size does not fit all
This country is too large, and has too many people in its melting pot for us to apply one set of rules everywhere. This is clearly what is staring us in the face ever since that beautiful day in 2008 when there was so much hope in the air.
What we should do is to create laws and give the states or the senators/ reps the ability to either accept and implement it — or not
Let’s face it — it is going to be a while before the red states are ever going to like or accept or even trust the blue states or the Democrats.
That’s ok. If they want to be left behind (as we think of it), that is perfectly fine. We should simply let them be.
To be continued…