When there’s an election between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, the Republican always wins.This was amply demonstrated in my own congressional district in 2010, when my Democratic Congressman, the late John Adler, a Harvard-educated, fiercely intelligent and experienced legislator was defeated by a football player who raises donkeys to avoid taxes. Adler, who had a reputation as a liberal legislator when he served in the State House in Trenton, moved to the right and was one of a small number of Democrats who voted against providing health care for millions of Americans. Now, Barack Obama is following in Adler’s footsteps, and that tells me that Obama will be a one-term president. Here’s why.
While the health care bill debate was punctuated with faux rage from the insurance companies, in essence the law is a gift to the profit-making entities. Subsidies to these for-profit companies will ensure their stock price and executive bonuses will rise while Americans still are afforded a second-rate health insurance system. A single-payer system would have been the best solution, as evidenced by the results in the 36 nations that exceed the United States in this area, but the president succumbed to the corporatists and Tea Party by taking single-payer off the table even before negotiations began.
The president has demonstrated his Republican DNA by his shocking pre-holiday nullification of his own EPA’s clean air standards. Succumbing to the pressure from corporations while ignoring scientists is a hallmark of the Republican agenda, and President Obama has joined that chorus. The rationale is allegedly to save money (read: put more profits in corporate coffers), while the additional billions in medical costs from increased lung and other diseases are ignored, as is the human suffering that will result from dirty air. The jobs argument is also specious because the effort to improve air quality would have spawned job growth as much, if not more, than letting dirty fuels prevail.
From a strategic political point of view, this decision is also a bad one. The pro-pollution crowd is not one that would vote for Obama in 2012, anyway. And by alienating the sensible moderates and the progressive wing of his party, Obama has guaranteed that those people will stay home on Election Day, giving us the nightmare of a President Perry.