*The election of Scott Brown to the Senate seat vacated upon the death of Ted Kennedy apparently created a massive obstacle to healthcare legislation.
Indeed this initiative was having a difficult time getting approved when there was a “super majority” of sixty Democrats in the Senate. But from a different perspective Brown’s election creates a great opportunity.
As Obama said in his State of the Union address, Republicans must not dismiss legislation proposed by Democrats simply because of its origins. In referencing the loss of the Democratic super majority, Obama invited Republicans to participate in the legislative process.
The fact that Democrats cannot force legislation through can and should translate to better bipartisan discussions and legislation that can be universally accepted. If we can agree that having medical insurance is good and that therefore everyone should have medical insurance, then with people of both parties tackling the issue a bill ought not be opposed.
Furthermore, the election of Brown is critical in that he is Republican with constituents who both support and oppose universal healthcare. He is charged with representing both of those groups. Ultimately he could serve as a blueprint for other Republican Senators; no state in the country is 100% against universal healthcare. If a middle ground on this topic can be reached and Brown was to vote for it, other Senators would se it as a possibility. Ultimately these are people concerned with re-election. And if legislation can be written to benefit the people of Massachusetts, thereby helping Brown’s re-election campaign, then that same legislation should benefit people nationwide and their Senators will also have their campaigns boosted.
This seems familiar. It reminds me of the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. President Johnson saw the need for healthcare for economically disadvantaged Americans, and worked to make it a reality. President Obama sees a similar problem. And while he is not as good a politician as Johnson, his cause is just as worthier and this legislation should be adopted. Brown’s election can be the death knell of universal healthcare but with a little effort it could just as easily be the seminal moment in its passage.