A diary on the front page rec list makes a valid point on the one hand, when it asks "If we kill this bill, what then do we do?"
But the point that the piece also seems to make -- that therefore the suggestion to "kill this bill" is wrong, really needs some careful examination as to what is going on here.
Let's put aside for the moment whether the bill is good or bad (a succinct and cohesive argument is made here), and the fact that there are answers to the question as to what to do if this bill is killed.
Let's say the bill is bad. And that there are no answers if this is the case. (Not at all true, but just assume it for now.)
Think about what it then means to pass a "bad bill" because there is not a "better answer."
What is the primary complaint about Democrats?
It is that Dems try to have government do too much that is well intentioned and that does more harm than good, or does some good while infringing upon people's freedoms unnecessarily.
Right or wrong, it keeps a lot of people Republican today who just based upon the basic facts of the many issues this country faces probably would not otherwise be. (Or at least for them to remain Republican, the party could not have moved so radically to the right.)
And this same framing has a huge amount to do with the successful campaigns against Democrats over the years, even, again, as the Republican party has moved almost radically to the right.
So what then is passing a bad bill -- and one, it is argued, I think persuasively, that is somewhat overbearing without solving the problem that needs to be solved-- doing?
It is doing exactly what Republicans accuse Democrats of doing.
So now, afraid of "not having" health care reform, the argument seems like it may be starting to morph into "bad legislation is better than no legislation."
But it's not. Bad legislation is worse than no legislation, and our country was founded somewhat on that idea.
Regarding the argument that if this bill is not passed, then it will be "years" before it is considered again; this is poppycock. It will be considered again when it is brought up cohesively, coherently, and there is a need for it. Which is the case today, and which will continue to be the case tomorrow.
On the other side of the equation, there have been arguments that a "bad bill" can be improved.
Yes, they can. But changing bad bills is more problematic, not less problematic, than simply creating a good one in the first place. And very often, does not even get done.
More importantly, if a bad bill can really be re-focused on in Congress and in the national debate, then the issue itself can be re-focused on in Congress and in the national debate.
But is "killing the bill" even the only option?
Another option is to change the bill to address the problem. The problem is spiraling health care costs, caused mainly by for profit insurance over what is in effect routine, rather than economic life changing, health care needs. This current bill seems only to add to that.
Start the bill over, or change this bill to make it a good bill, not a bad one.
That Democrats have a decent majority in both houses and control of the White House, and can't get this done because of what Republicans think, is a travesty. It is also a classic reflection of how Democrats this decade have, and continue, to allow their opponents to control the public debate.
If a good bill, that does more while not infringing on people, not mandating things, not adding more intrusive regulations and burdensome paperwork, and which contains what have become absolutely absurd medical and medical related costs in this country (with enormous impact upon our federal debt as well), is passed, Democrats will not be as hammered on it.
They will get hammered even less if Democrats stop presuming that "everyone knows" what they know (or thinks or perceives things the same way) and instead of simply telling Americans, they show and sell them a better bill, they show and sell them why, and they show and sell them how once again their oppponents are either misleading Americans on the issue or do not understand it. (And we as Americans can not keep listening to leaders who wildly mislead or have no idea what the issues and facts are, such as this famous person.)
Yet Democrats in Congress and perhaps elsewhere are so afraid of getting hammered on this that they "compromised" in a way that is in essence a hand out to special interests; and which only increases, rather than decreases, the legitimate complaints and attacks that can be levied upon this bill.
And thus, the big irony here is, they will be more hammered on it. Not less.
A bad bill is worse than no bill. A bad bill does not lead to improvements. (That's only one step removed from the far right theory that if you "starve the beast" and cut receipts, Congress will temper spending, which never worked, and probably never will.)
Start over, or simply fix this bill. (I'd be glad to offer help to this White House, but the last time I offered help, on the issue in fact of how to frame things so that Democrats opponents are not always able to frame the debate, it was met, esssentially, with cries of "we get it, so screw everyone else if they don't" at the very same time that article after article popped up wondering how the rest of the country and media was responding in the (unfortunate) way that it was -- see update to the piece in particular.)
But please don't use the excuse that "nothing is going to happen" if a bad bill isn't passed. If Democrats want a bill passed (let alone with a majority and a White House), pass a good bill. It's as simple as that.
If it seems hard, go back to the framing issue and why this got so complicated in the first place: Because once again Democrats played right into their opponents framing, and worried about how they were going to look (And, in keeping with the "everyone knows what we know" idea, didn't successfully use their opponents lies and misrepresentations to define their opponents.)
You look good when you do what you believe is right, and you sell why. You look bad when you worry about how you look.
It's time for Democrats in Congress to grasp this. Or stop passing bills. Particularly bad ones.