One cannot help but admire Nancy Pelosi's skill as a legislator. But it's also pretty worrying. Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority? Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don't find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, Social Security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn't--if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission--then the legislative lock-in you're counting on wouldn't exist.Emphasis mine.
What has been most frustrating about this whole long, bizarre and exhausting process is that it seems like the entire press corps apparently slept through the LAST DECADE. Remember those times? Remember this? Remember this? And this? The thing about these things, changing Social Security and spying on all Americans and, oh, yeah, starting two wars is that they're generally really, really unpopular. Healthcare reform just plain isn't. Not for the reasons folks like Megan McArdle want to say it is, anyway. And let's not mention the fact that when people hear what's actually in the plan, they like it a lot more.
There is basically no way to describe this process as the tyranny of the majority. No actual way. The Democrats compromised, incorporated Republican ideas, in many ways betrayed their core principles to satisfy the GOP and the conservatives and, in return, were kicked in the teeth. The only thing that would have satisfied the opposition party was...nothing. No action at all. And that's untenable.
When the Republicans had far slimmer majorities, they did far worse damage, using all the same legislative tools (and some non-legislative ones) in support of much less popular things. The one thing that the Democrats managed to stop was their plan to destroy Social Security. That's a good thing.
Honestly, it drives me up the wall when people say, "What would happen if the Republicans were in the majority?" We saw that. It sucked. And also, that's the reason they're not in the majority now. Elections have consequences, right? And a smart person like Megan should be able to realize that. Oh, wait...