Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Searching for the Third Way

If Republicans and moderates and disaffected "progressives" are serious about cobbling together a majority to delay the deeming and passing of the Senate bill, they would be wise to stress their openness to and even eagerness for the passing of a smaller, more targeted reform measure. As Allahpundit suggests, a pledge to make health-care reform the number two priority next year (behind jobs) on the part of Republican leaders could be effective.

I think opponents of the Senate bill might go even further and state that they want to keep working on health-care this year. There is a moderate coalition out there in support of a variety of reforms for health-care.

Currently, the lefty radicals have been driving the debate---that it's either this bill or no bill, "reform" or stagnation. Centrists cannot let the radicals monopolize the mantle of reform and they should not accept the radicals' interpretation of history. There are more choices than the partisans pose.

Currently, the centrists are serving as legislative cannon-fodder for many of the radicals in Congress. The actions of Democratic leadership, overwhelmingly supported by the left wing of the Congress, have endangered the moderates' electoral chances, and now the moderates are being asked (or threatened) to take another big swallow and vote for this measure.

If an authentically moderate reform passes the House and the Senate, the president can sign it and still take credit for it. He might express some disappointment with the limitations of the measure, but he can still sign it with fanfare. Moderate Democrats can still give their president a win, if he wants it.

Opponents of the Senate bill should give fence-sitters something to vote for or at least the possibility of something to vote for. Real legislative reform can happen that can cross party lines. There is a place still for the vital center in politics, Senate bill opponents might remind the undecideds. Voting "no" on this bill need not be a vote for inaction---merely a vote for a different kind of action.

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