Thursday, September 27, 2012

From The ACA To Obamacare: The Legacy of President Barak H. Obama

When I first began this post, I was thinking that President Obama's 2012 campaign's recent adoption of the, previously derisive, term "Obamacare", was a coup, and that the President was finally taking credit for, and ownership of, his signature piece of legislation.  I still believe this.  I also thought that "Obamacare", because of the actual inclusion of the President's name, would be a fitting legacy that would follow his presidency through the annals of history.
As legacies go, I thought, with President Obama's name on it, it would be like the legacies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" or President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" on steroids.  As history rolls on, these legacies become disassociated from presidential name that authored these great legislative triumphs, for large portions of Americans, save historians.
On further reflection, it became appearent that fully adopting "Obamacare" versus "The Affordable Care Act (ACA)" may be a double edged sword.  Yes, it would forever associate President Obama with this monumental legislative achievement, but it could also provide a big bullseye for future congressional legislators who feel more empowered to take aim at taking down "Obamacare" more so than trying to shoot down "The Affordable Care Act".  While a fitting lagacy for President Obama, it may render the "ACA" more vunerable to attack, at least in the short term.
If re-elected, I would suggest the President's administration make a very subtle shift from the use of the term "Obamacare" to just "The Affordable Care Act" "ACA".  "The Affordable Care Act" will still be one of President Obama's legacies, but subject to disassociation in the flow of time, as is the case of my next suggestion.
President Obama does need his own lagacy byline, like FDR's "New Deal" or LBJ's "War On Poverty".  While a "war on poverty" is certainly in order now, as it was for LBJ, however because of the nature of what's wrong in America is so broad, so should the concept moniker for the President Obama's game plan.  Actually, because President Roosevelt encountered similar issues, the "New Deal" was broader, and very apt, concept.  However, I wouldn't recommend "New Deal V 2.0".
What America needs is a Way Forward, a movement from Republican policies, and the ideology of conservatives at large, that benefit the few at the expense of the many.  We need a Way Forward that restores the belief that one's vote does, in fact, count.  We need a Way Forward to a progressive tax system, that once existed.  We need a Way Forward to a once thriving middle class.  The Way Forward is creating strict chipped in stone, and fully transparent, election campaign financing.
But The Way Forward to all the above can't happen, unless we restore the confidence of Americans in the legislative processes of its government.  The Way Forward should eliminate, or severely restrict the use of "filibustering". Until this one item alone is fully addressed, the continous gridlock that plagues our congressional legislative process, will continue to erode the confidence of Americans in their government.  The Way Forward is depoliticizing the electoral machinery. The entire electoral system should be completely independent of all political parties. This absolutely insane, and contributes greatly to voter apathy!
The Way Forward should include work to eliminate of "electoral districts gerrymandering", and the "electoral college".  These last two, are tools of divisiveness, not of unification, and cannot exist in a truly democratic society.  These are just easily accessed tools of ideological gamemanship, with the American people caught in the middle, and the true casualty.  It is painfully appearent to me that it is time for an up or down of a "simple majority" vote by the true legislative representatives of the people who's re-election will become more and more contingent on their actual service to the people.
This isn't the ramblings a naive progressive, or of a progressive, slipping slowly into the wishy-washyness of centrism, or independent voterism.  No, I'm about as progressive as they come.  I don't believe that there is any such thing as "compassionate" or "liberal" conservative, and I certainly don't believe that there is such thing as "progressive conservative", as one tweep describes himself.  That's a oxymoron if ever there was one.  What I feel is that we live in extraordinary political times, where for the first time in memory in which the the Republican Party, stripped of its obfuscatory facade, the two parties are extraordinaryly delineated. 
The fact is, for the above proposals to work, this party delineation is extremely important.  The revelation of the Republican's true agenda and benefactors, has availed the Democratic Party with easily acceptable values to rally behind.  But, to truly go down The Way Forward, ALL members of the Democratic Party must believe in, and subscribe to, well defined Democratic Party values.  Only, then can a true choice between the two parties exist. Then, maybe America and the Democratic Party can afford, and maybe benifit from, experimenting with a "let the chips fall where they may" concept.  The "tyranny of the (simple) majority" should never be able to abrogate constitutionally given rights.
Already a part of President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, it's not a big leap to what America needs is, "The Way Forward".


  1. I like the way you carefully try to consider both pros and cons b/4 reaching a conclusion.

    And I think your first thought was the right one. How it turns out -- does ObamaCare become a good term or a bad one -- depends ENTIRELY on whether Dems do what they didn't do before --sing its many praises from the rooptops so no one can miss them.

    I'm willing to do some of that.

    Second reason your first thought was the right one is to defend it successfully from attempts to repeal everyone needs to know what's in it that we don't want to lose. Needing to FIRST have to educate people as to what-the-heck-is-ACA can only slow that process.

    Dems tend to stay quiet until near an election. A habit we need to break. New habit: Speak up for good policies, good politicians at least as often as you fill your gas tank. Better, as often as you brush your teeth.

    Donn Cole - @DemsChgTheTalk

  2. @eportlow regarding your blog post on Obamacare, The Affordable Care Act and President Obama's legacy. I agree that WORDS MATTER. The first time I heard the term "Obamacare" it was like I had been punched in the stomach. I had been working in cancer in the health care field & personally witnessed the suffering of so many fighting insurance companies while battling cancer. Every day going to work was another trip to bizarro world. When Dr. Howard Dean came along, I avidly worked for his Presidential candidacy because I knew he understood healthcare and proven programs he put in place as Governor of Vermont kept people healthy instead of treating sick people which is way more expensive. So I had many, many years of healthcare experience both profesionally and personally in the lead up to the dropping of the OBAMACARE bomb on me. It happened to me at a dinner meeting with all Republicans, a Rotary meeting in a rural area and the lady who dropped the bomb did it flippantly, without thinking, & I just knew she picked it up from other right wingers. This leads into other criticisms of the President relative to his rhetoric. People who criticize the President as a good speech maker and that is his only skill just don't get it. Lets remember too that Hillary Clinton was one of those critics. All policy and legislation begins with rhetoric. Words, the couching of words, the framing of ideas, this all moves us forward. The majority of Americans believe in our ideas but until President Obama (and Bill Clinton) we did not have good explainers. Explaining, naming and repeating are very important to the political process and our President's legacy. I am certain his legacy will be that of a statesman. No rational historian could say otherwise.