Let me give you something to chew on tonight, a bit of alternate universe stuff. We know that after months of proposing nothing and claiming they have been ignored, House Republicans are trying to look like they're engaged in the health care debate. They are about to come out with their version of health care reform in the next several days:
Republicans are preparing to unveil their own health bill in the next few days. Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Monday that the plan wouldn't seek to prevent health-insurance companies from denying sick people insurance -- a key plank of the Democrats' legislation.
Instead, the bill would allow insurance firms to sell policies across state lines, permit small businesses to pool their risks to bring down costs, change medical-malpractice laws and give state governments more flexibility to pursue rule changes.
Yes, their precription does nothing to make health insurance more affordable or contain costs, but it sure would make it easier for insurance companies to only cover healthy people and drive up their profits even further. And there's nothing there that would provide coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, thereby continuing the GOP's war on the middle class. But supposing the Democrats and White House had drawn this out of the GOP earlier in the game and then browbeaten the crap out of them with this for months on end?
This got me to thinking about how things would be going for Obama right about now if he had pursued a different course coming out of the gate:
*How would things be right now if Obama had gone big with the stimulus, with more money directly targeted at states, small businesses, infrastructure, and less on pork and tax cuts?
*How much political capital would Obama have right now if he had stopped TARP and the planned bailouts of AIG and the banks for Goldman Sachs,and instead let a couple of these villains take the fall, while directing the money to regional banks and tying the whole thing to real financial reform last spring?
*And how much better off would Obama be right now if he started the health care debate with "Medicare for all" in 2010 as the Democrats' starting point last spring, and then told the GOP to argue against that all year with their own plan?
What do you think?