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The rude, crude route to health care “reform” in this country may serve as a textbook case on how and why the American system of government collapsed under the weight of bitter partisan politics.
No side in this contentious debate can claim the high road. Both sides engaged in the lowest form of gutter politics. No one in this vile campaign of partisan pugilism wore a white hat.
The demonstrators in Washington over the weekend punctuated the anger and hate that has dominated the debate: They spit on lawmakers, called African-American Congressmen “niggers” and screamed “faggot” at Rep. Barney Frank, the openly-gay Congressman from Massachusetts. Photoshopped posters portrayed President Barack Obama as an African tribesman or a black Hitler. Abortion foes waved their traditional grusome photos of aborted fetuses.
It was — and in all — an ugly scene dominated by ugly Americans who thrive in what has become an ugly political landscape.
The unruliness extended onto the floor of the House of Representatives where members of Congress shouted at each other and catcalls echoed throughout the chamber. Parliamentary procedure disappeared, drowned out by the din of anger and partisan posturing.
In the end, not one Republican voted for the bill and Democratic leaders had to scramble to try and scrape up enough votes to give Obama his victory but the bill that lands on his desk is a far cry from the lofty campaign promises of true health care reform.
The bill is — at best — a gutted, emasculated morass of back-room deals, capitulations to lobbyists and pandering to special interests — the very people that Obama promised would not be part of his Presidency.
Ironically, the long, torturous path to passage may turn out to be the easy part. Obama must now sell his flawed health care law to a skeptical American public that has serious doubts about the bill and his presidency.
In the end, Obama may learn a painful lesson from an old Chinese proverb:
Be careful what you wish for…you might just get it.