I've been getting progressively more worked up each day the last few weeks and it finally spilled over into this letter I just wrote to my congresswoman and senators.
On consideration, I think the analogies here (trite as they seem) are worth sharing precisely because they are so very obvious and applicable. At any rate, I'm interested in your thoughts.
Dear Sen. Durbin, Sen. Burris, Congresswoman Schakowsky,
First, I appreciate your hard work and the good things you do. Please be aware of this.
Second, enough is enough.
Many in my family worked for GM for may decades, and I've had plenty of opportunities to reflect upon the failings of that company and the odd sort of insight that you only get from not being in the thick of a situation. Isn't it strange that the executives who inostensibly knew more about their company than anyone else missed the most apparent signs of its downfall? There's some horrible disadvantage to being on the inside; one misses the obvious wisdom that consumers stop buying cars from an unresponsive automaker unconcerned with quality and changing needs. Ironically, the people building the cars understood these liabilities far better than those running the company.
Today, I have had a grand opportunity to observe the same phenomenon in the slow and incremental death of health care reform.
Now everybody and their brother who supports you (and has been supporting your career for how many years now) knows that the Democrats' odds of surviving in November improve if you pass this bill. We all know that your chances are better the sooner you pass it. You seem locked in this idea that the independents -- that precious margin that determines so many elections -- is going to freak out if you are seen as having too progressive an agenda, while you miss the reliable and fundamental fact that the independents are more drawn to things that work than they are to political ideologies of any stripe. And today's half-passed bill does not "work" by any stretch of the imagination.
Conversely, the senate is too blithe in assuming that the liberal base that has funded and supported the last two election cycles is going to have anything other than fury and resentment with an agenda that seems to whole-heartedly turn its back on most of the issues we care most about.
In this case, the analogies are simple and apt:
Roger Smith, CEO of GM thought his restructuring of GM without changing corporate culture or quality standards would save GM. He was wrong, and it was obvious to everyone on the street.
Jeff Zucker of NBC thought that preemptive shuffling around of late night personalities without consulting the hosts or the affiliates would help NBC. He was wrong and it was obvious, and it was obvious to everyone on the street.
Now Rahm Emmanuel is sidelining health care and it looks like Harry Reid is going along with that. Guess what: They're wrong, and it's obvious!
PASS HEALTH CARE REFORM!
Pass it yesterday.
The sooner you pass it, the sooner it will start saving lives, and the sooner you are start taking credit for the good work you've done in the face of stiff opposition.
If you do not pass it, I assure you, and not without great sadness and regret, this November will be a calamity.