Yes, it’s a politically-themed post. Probably the only one before 2008, so don’t run away just yet.
The Bush veto of the bipartisan children’s health care plan a few weeks ago really made me angry, but it wasn’t until “Justin Miller responded”:http://twitter.com/incanus77/statuses/310113392 to “my tweet”:http://twitter.com/manton/statuses/310110182 that I started to think about why. Here’s the reason.
When Bush was elected in 2000, I expected this kind of stuff from him. Vetoing stem cell research? Killing children’s health care funding? Sure, par for the course for this Republican. But then 9-11 happened and everything changed. The war. Our president’s priorities changed.
Bush got a free ride from the media during the 2000 election, and again after 9-11. He would make the most incompetent and clumsy mistakes and yet be cut slack because, frankly, expectations are just so much lower for him than any other president in recent history.
At some point in 2004, opinion started to shift, led by folks like Howard Dean (who I’ve “written about before”:http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Amanton.org+howard+dean). Eventually, after Bush won re-election, there would be enough anti-war momentum to matter. And that brings us up to now and this veto.
Everyone is focused on the war. Everyone understands the significance, the mistakes. Most of the country wants it over but we know that it’s complex, and the consequences for any given action will be felt for a decade. Compared to the lives lost in Iraq and the harm done to the stability of the Middle East, the rise of a new generation of terrorists — what does a health care bill matter? Is it worth fighting for?
Democrats in power by a slim majority probably think they have to choose their battles, have to give in on some issues so they can hold on to the important ones, like the war. But I say no. The only thing that works against this stubborn ass in the White House is to take the fight to him. Cut him off at every turn. Don’t give him a freakin’ inch. Call for an override vote again and again.
Every. Single. Day.
That’s how you win. You put people on the ground in every state — organizing, protesting, getting out the vote. You put letters in the hands of our representatives — email, blogs, editorial, flyers. You put a loud voice to what you feel and never, ever back down.