Yesterday in the US Senate, the maverick that we have long missed, returned. Yesterday in the US Senate, Senator John McCain made a passionate plea to his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, to return to the bipartisan way of doing business in the senate so that they can make real progress and avoid the constant gridlock that has characterized legislative business in Congress. Sometimes we lose our way and it will take personal pain to rediscover ourselves. So did it happen with Sen. McCain. Watch his speech on the floor of the Senate yesterday on the need for bipartisanship if you haven’t seen it yet.
For 8 years, the Republican Party campaigned on repealing Obamacare. They demonized the man behind the healthcare law. And they demonized the law itself. And you would expect them to have come up before now with alternative to the healthcare law because if you are smart to know that something is wrong with a thing, you should be smart enough to figure out the solution to the problem.
The Republican Party now controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. In both chambers, they have the majority to pass laws without needing a single vote from members of the Democratic Party. Yet, six months down the line, they haven’t come to terms among themselves on what to replace the law with. Having failed repeatedly to conceive a law they can agree on within their conference, Mitch McConnell and his horde are now set on the path of repealing Obamacare without replacing it with anything.
How can you plan to pull off a roof to a house without having a replacement in place?
That tells you that the problem is not necessarily with the generally acknowledged imperfect Obamacare. An imperfect law that can easily be fixed by bipartisan efforts. The Republican Party simply do not want a legacy for President Obama.
I am an American and I do not place any stock in petty party politics.
Obamacare is not a perfect law just like the Social Security Act and so many other federal programs that were part of the New Deal were not perfect laws. But we had statesmen who were willing to work with the government to review the laws and make them to work better for America. Statesmen who rose above party politics. If the intention of the Republican Party has been for America to have a healthcare law that is affordable and fair to everyone participating in the healthcare market – the insurance companies, the health practitioners, and the end users – they would have spent half the energy and time they spent on their futile efforts to repeal the law on working with Democrats to review the law and make it better. That is how responsible and people-oriented governance come through.
But this furor has never been about a better healthcare law for America because all their efforts at coming up with some new law have repeatedly being shown to have the potential of blowing medical costs through the roof and making it impossible for millions of Americans to afford healthcare including millions already covered by Obamacare.
It is never about affordable healthcare for we the people.
Healthcare is not that complicated. And if a president or any member of Congress think so, then that person has no business being in politics. Politics involves trade-offs. It doesn’t take a president that much effort to gather representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, leaders of both political parties, members of the medical profession, and interest groups in a room and give them a mandate and a deadline to come up with a compromise bill that will be fair to every stakeholder. A president who is passionate and honest about having a healthcare law that will work for every American can easily achieve that. And it will not be as complicated as it seems. Because he or she will gain the support of the people. We the people can see through vain political posturing and we the people can also see through an honest and passionate drive to bring about positive change for we the people. Call me naïve, but President Johnson made it happen for the Civil Rights Law with his pragmatism. Something that President Kennedy couldn’t do with his idealism. See, am not ignorant of the fact that there are elements in our polity who benefits from the status quo and who will fight to sabotage every healthcare reform efforts. But a president who is willing to pass a law should also be ready to use the power of the presidency to achieve his or her goals especially when these goals are noble. If he need to blackmail his detractors, he should do so. If he needs to force some formidable elected opponents to resign their elected offices to pave way for the bill to have a smooth sail in Congress, he should do so too. As long as his intentions is to bring about positive progressive changes. Backward hateful people should not be tolerated to oppose our progress. Not when other industrialized nations are busy modernizing their societies. Not when China and Russia are busy advancing their global agendas at our detriment.
What is lacking in this administration is such a leader who is passionate about we the people. We rather have a president who have no interest in going to work for the people; who sees himself as a king, tweeting his whims and caprices rather than sitting down with leaders of both political parties to fashion out pragmatic policies. A president who delegates leadership on his signature campaign promise of replacing Obamacare with a beautiful healthcare law to a senate majority leader who does not believe that all Americans are entitled access to affordable health care. A president who sees governance as a television show where the creation of constant controversy to spike ratings is more important to him than substantive achievement.
So, we look to Congress for leadership on this issue and other varying issues of national concern since we do not have a leader to lead. And the Republican-led Congress have been failing woefully at governing.
For a political party that has long been championing the running of America like a business, the Republican-led Congress as a division in a large corporation would have long being shut down for its lack of productivity. And all the congressmen and women in that Congress would have been out of job long time ago. I mean how do you explain to your employer and more importantly your shareholders that as an employee that you cannot get anything done? How do you explain the fact that you do not have the required skill-sets to work collaboratively with members of your own team to achieve organizational goals? And how do you explain your approach to work of “either my way or the highway” even when it is obvious that your non-inclusive, single-minded approach is counterproductive to organizational values of inclusiveness and teamwork?
For a group that resists with blood every attempt to have the minimum wage raised for the common man, how does the Republican-led Congress justify the stellar salary, first class health benefits, and other perks they enjoy when year in year out they report to work but do absolutely nothing for their employer and the stakeholders?
Just as every unproductive division in a corporation or under-performing stores in a store chain is put on notice, it is high time that we the people rise and demand that the position of a senator or congressman be made a part time job that is pro-rated and paid nothing more than the national minimum wage of $7.50. With absolutely no benefits. Overtime must be approved by, you know, some mechanism that we the people will put in place. It is high time they start clocking in and out just like every other regular Joe. And since their employment will be governed by both right-to-work and at-will laws, you know, we the people can always fire them at will without having to establish just cause for the firing. There is no reason they should not enjoy the same labor laws they make for us and access to the same healthcare they envision for we the people. For whatever is good for the geese no doubt should also be good for the gander.