Saturday, November 11, 2006

More on why conservatism didn't win

It doesn't really need to be said at this point, because I think it is pretty obvious that conservatism lost in this election, as I said below. Still, compare 2000, when George W. Bush had the gall to say that talking about income disparities was "class warfare." Had he said that in 2006, even some Congressman in Idaho would not have wanted to campaign with him. Center for American Progress, which is focused on the urgent issue of health care reform, compiled a list of what winning Democratic candidates said about the issue in the 2006 elections. Here are a few of the quotes they include:

  • “With costs rising out of control and health care coverage declining, the health care system in our country is broken, and we need to make fundamental changes.” “My health care coverage plan rests on four bedrock principles: First, affordable coverage for all Americans; second, maintaining your choice of doctors and plans; third, controlling costs; and fourth, expanding preventive care.” Bob Casey, Senator-Elect, Pennsylvania (speech, campaign website, last viewed 11/6/06)
  • “Health coverage is eroding; health care costs are spiraling upward. It is a lethal combination and a vicious cycle...For individuals and families a lack of health insurance is a financial disaster waiting to happen...For the nation as a whole, it is a drag on our potential.” Sherrod Brown, Senator-Elect, Ohio (speech, 9/13/06)
  • “We can begin to address the problem through the eventual implementation of a policy guaranteeing adequate health care for every American.” Zack Space, U.S. Congress, Ohio Congressional District 18 (campaign website, last viewed 9/11/06)
  • “We have a moral obligation as a nation to ensure that every citizen has access to quality, affordable health care.” John Yarmuth, U.S. Congress, Kentucky, Congressional District 3 (campaign website, last viewed 11/06/06)

Health care reform is anethema to conservatives, but it's an important issue for most people, as seen in this campaign. I really hope the Congress can get something done on this, the very least of which would be using the leverage of the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.

Another thing I hope will come of this change in Congress is more attention to the difficulties of professionals in metropolitan areas of this country who have to pay back student loans, often raise families, and deal with higher cost of living. The Democrats' focus on re-tooling the alternative minimum tax so it doesn't effect the middle class is a good start, a tax that George W. Bush seems all too happy to prop up in its current form. Coupled with repealing Bush's ineffective tax cuts for the super wealthy, the Democrats could make sure repealing or indexing the AMT to inflation doesn't put us into more debt.

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