This has always been the history of our progress. In 1933, when over
half of our seniors could not support themselves and millions had seen
their savings wiped away, there were those who argued that Social
Security would lead to socialism. But the men and women of Congress
stood fast, and we are all the better for it. In 1965, when some argued
that Medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members
of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, did not back down. They joined
together so that all of us could enter our golden years with some basic
peace of mind.
You see, our predecessors understood that government could not, and
should not, solve every problem. They understood that there are
instances when the gains in security from government action are not
worth the added constraints on our freedom. But they also understood
that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too
little; that without the leavening hand of wise policy, markets can
crash, monopolies can stifle competition, and the vulnerable can be
exploited. And they knew that when any government measure, no matter
how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any
efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts
and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom,
and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each
other over the things that truly matter – that at that point we don't
merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something
essential about ourselves.
What was true then remains true today. I understand how difficult this
health care debate has been. I know that many in this country are
deeply skeptical that government is looking out for them. I understand
that the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down
the road – to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one
But that's not what the moment calls for. That's not what we came here
to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I
still believe we can act even when it's hard. I still believe we can
replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still
believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet
I'm sorry, but I've now officially had it with puritanical lefties who are "disappointed" in Barack Obama because he's not quite pure enough for their tastes.
This post from David Kurtz at TPM (a site I love) pushed me over the top and compelled me to blog on a Friday night.
Here we have a President who is pushing -- by far -- the most progressive agenda in nearly 50 years and shows real signs of greatness. But that's not enough for the rigid purists.
I think Obama has been terrific so far; I'm an adult, I fully understand why he has to compromise on some of these issues. The disappointment has come from pundits and bloggers on the left. After eight years of George Bush, and an election lost in 2000 in part because so many on the left saw no distinction between Al Gore and Bush, you'd think a lesson would have been learned.