My mind has been flooded by all the different avenues of change open to the American people.
First, let's take this financial crisis. It may be an attempt to crush Obama's plans for reform by saddling him with so much debt that he can't do a thing. So what? A legitimate financial market salvation plan could not be passed under Bush. He would have vetoed it and blamed the Democrats, and it might have stuck. But that's not the case in January under President Obama. Let's re-visit the subject then, and you know we will.
All the old regulations will be new again. Plus a limited duration small tax on transactions and maybe a small tax on the wealthy to pay for the financial bailout. It ends when the crisis ends and the feds have recouped the $700 billion. Then the poison pill of the Republicans fails. And since this wealth is concentrated in so few hands, thanks to the Republicans, the great mass of the American people won't notice. This is on top of the cuts in corporate subsidies and the increase in tax rates for the rich Obama has already proposed. None of this is "soak the rich" by any means. It's their fair share of the burden.
The poison pill only works if the Republicans control at least one branch of government. This election changes everything, because it's gonna be a blowout.
Lost in all this is the trap of health care reform. Democrats must deliver on this promise, it's what the Republicans fear most. They know that a working national health plan will be a repudiation of their entire belief system. It will demonstrate in the most basic way possible the benefits of good government. Grover Norquist put it somewhat crudely:
Had the Democrats taken over health care, I think we would have become a social democracy and we could have never undone it. We wouldn't have won in '94, and even if we did, it wouldn't matter because 50 percent of the population would be on the take.
That's their view of government, a vast bribery machine. It's okay with them so long as only the right people are bribed.
I prefer the old progressive view of government as a communal entity to do those things we can't do individually. Government as a balance against the wealthy. Government as an aid to its citizens. Government as truth teller. Good government can do that. This is Norquist's worst nightmare come true. So health care reform must be a priority.
Closing down the Iraq war will be among Obama's first actions as president, but that doesn't involve major legislation and massive negotiations like health care. Health care is the true test. It will face major opposition by powerful corporations with deep pockets.
But that ain't all we can do. And a lot of things can be done without money, just a change in focus by the federal government, a shift in tax policy, encouragement instead of oppression. Congressional hearings on government corruption would be a necessary part of the renewal process, demonstrating a commitment to the reform of government.
Foremost among these secondary actions is the restoration of government's old role as truth teller. Remember the attempts by the Bush Administration to muzzle regulators and scientists? A new political organization was started just to combat it.
First, no more Iraq War.
Second, health care reform.
Third, government as truth teller.
Wow, I'm dizzy with excitement!
The prospect of a government that works properly is almost too much for my heart to stand. I may have a joy-induced heart attack the day after the election.