I am a medical student, and follow politics as a hobby. So it is pretty ironic that the healthcare debate doesn't interest me as much as other things might. Part of it may be some of my innate pessimism about the prospects for successful legislation in that area. I do think that Obama was genuine about taking a bipartisan approach towards health care. I don't think the Republicans have met him half way, 1/4 the way, or even 0.000001% of the way. In fact I'm quite sure the GOP from day one had internally decided that Obama would not be cooperated with under any circumstances. Thus the failure to create bipartisan legislation, because the GOP refuses to play along, becomes a GOP talking point about how Obama isn't being bipartisan enough.
I think its sad because this sets a pretty nasty precedent for US politics in general. A lot of Republicans liken the situation to what happened to George W. Bush, in other words, his demonization by the left and the refusal for many Dems to work with him. There is a big difference between Bush and Obama though - Bush had been in office long enough to rightfully have deserved it. Obama has not. And its a sad precedent, that the opposing party who just got trounced in a major election to decide from day 1 that they will under no circumstances work with the new elected leader of the USA.
What is almost worse is how pathetic the Democrats in Congress are. They have an unstoppable majority, and a popular charismatic leader in the oval office, and they can't get their own house in order long enough to pass anything of substance. The cap-and-trade bill was a f*cking disaster, so honestly - who could expect health care reform to be any different?
So this is the dismal state of US politics right now, and perhaps this is why I am losing interest: the party with the unstoppable majority has its ranks filled with some of the most epically spineless cowards to have ever graced the capitol city, while the opposition party is a walking contradiction, is led by a bunch of psychopathic idiots, a bunch of loud-mouthed buffoons without the slightest bit of logic or rationality going into the words that come pouring incessantly out of their mouths.
In other words, the entire thing is a trainwreck. The US government right now reminds me of two crazy men fist-fighting in the cargo bay of an airplane that is in the process of crashing. Maybe this is the natural ebb and flow of politics. Maybe its always been like this. Or maybe this is what it looks like when an empire begins its long, steep decline.
Addendum. I told my roommate this tonight, and I will reiterate it on here. Obama is pragmatic and he is conciliatory. I genuinely believe that he wanted to get a bipartisan consensus for health care. The Republicans played him for a fool; fine, he will learn from it. If I was Obama, I'd get legislation written that includes all of the crap that the Democrats originally wanted - Republicans be damned. Then I'd let it go to a vote, and I'd dare the blue-dog Democrats be known as the Democrats who killed healthcare reform.