The Moose suggests that W. should have followed Hillary's example.
There is an emerging consensus that spans across the ideological spectrum that health care, not social security is in a crisis. Robert Pear reported in Sunday's New York Times that an eclectic group of health care wonks has been meeting secretly to discuss a solution to the vexing problem of rising health care access,
"At a time when Congress has been torn by partisan battles, 24 ideologically disparate leaders representing the health care industry, corporations and unions, and conservative and liberal groups have been meeting secretly for months to seek a consensus on proposals to provide coverage for the growing number of people with no health insurance."
While attention has focused on social security, the issue of the health care coverage has largely been ignored by the political class,
"The Census Bureau says that 45 million people lacked health insurance in 2003, up by 1.4 million from 2002 and by 5.2 million from 2000. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that 18,000 adults die each year because they are uninsured and cannot get proper care. The number of uninsured may rise further as states like Tennessee and Missouri cope with soaring health costs by ending Medicaid coverage for tens of thousands of low-income people."
Clearly, the Clinton health plan was flawed and the Administration would have been better served by emphasizing welfare reform when they came to Washington. However, Hillary may be seen as a prophet on the issue. She has clearly learned from the experience while her commitment to addressing the issue has not diminished.
Paradoxically, if W. had focused on health care access instead of social security, he could have built an effective bi-partisan coalition. A conservative addressing health care could have provided the same political benefits as a liberal tackling welfare reform. However, ideological hubris trumped political wisdom.
The health care crisis simply isn't going away. Particularly if the economy weakens, health care could become a central issue in '08. And Hillary could be perfectly positioned to turn what was a liability into a major asset.
With the publication of the Clinton book by John Harris, expect the right to re-engage an effort to tar the Clinton legacy. This is a fight that progressives should welcome. Peace and prosperity are not hard to defend! --