Friday, January 29, 2010

Another Steny-gram

I know I'm preaching to an empty church here, but there's not much else to do at this point.

Dear Majority Leader Hoyer,

I see in today's Washington Post that the President's political advisers are inclined toward letting health care reform linger while moving on to other topics. This is disappointing, as health care is more likely to die from lack of attention than from losing a key vote.

Democrats have gone 99% of the distance needed to pass this historic legislation. The bill is flawed, true, but it is an important step forward, not only as being the first real attempt to get health spending under control and ensure more Americans have fair and equitable coverage, but as a value statement going forward, acknowledging health care reform as a matter of grave national interest, even national security.

Losing a vote would be bad enough; to walk away from legislation Democrats have long asserted to be a core component of their beliefs is to cast doubt on the willingness of the party to govern. Politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the easy. American voters elect representatives and senators and pay them well, with substantial perquisites and pensions--including health care--so that difficult decisions are made, not avoided. It's time for the party to stand up.

The Democratic Party is in danger of losing more than a legislative fight here; its core constituency is at risk. I resigned my party affiliation last fall over my dissatisfaction with how the party did business. (Or failed to do it.) I still align myself with its alleged principles. If the party walks away from this now, I swear I'll never vote for a Democrat for national office as long as any current members are seated. Given my age, that means never.

Dana King

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