Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein both touched on this, but I wanted to add my two cents here.
Admittedly, there were several hours last night during which I contemplated withdrawing my support for this bill. But here’s the question of the day: Why won’t (or why shouldn’t) progressives stand in the way of passing this bill — throwing conniption fits and filibustering the bill like Lieberman?
Possibly because we’re smart and compassionate enough to realize that even a bill as watered down as this one will save lives. Hundreds of thousands of lives. Ezra mentioned 150,000 over 10 years on Countdown last night, but if you take the Harvard study as gospel, it’s closer to 440,000. Maybe less. If it were just 100, it’d be too many.
This is why I still can’t oppose this bill, however angry I might be about the way it’s been handled and the perpetual screwing progressives have been forced to endure at the hands of the self-centered drama queens who like to think of themselves as principled tough-guys. They’re not. They’re elevating petty vengeance (Lieberman), special interest handouts and narrow-minded policy quibbles over saving lives — real reform that would otherwise have brought down healthcare costs and helped Americans better afford the basic goal of life: NOT DYING.
Even with all of its flaws, we can’t deny that this bill will be a first step towards ameliorating the healthcare crisis here. But contrary to what President Obama once said, he will absolutely not be the last American leader to address healthcare reform. Far, far from it. In order to reach basic social justice, where the poor and middle class have the same access to inexpensive quality medical care as the very rich do, it will require an ongoing effort. This is a work in progress.