STUPID OR VENAL?….Over at the Prospect, Bob Kuttner asks the eternal question: stupid or venal? The motivation for the question this time around is the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and given George Bush’s well-known disdain for actual policy analysis I suppose you could make a reasonable case for stupid as the guiding principle behind this mess ? although it would be a very specific and willfull brand of stupid. But in the end, it just doesn’t stick. Even aggressive ignorance couldn’t have produced this particular sausage.

So venal it is. In fact, the Medicare prescription bill is such an astonishingly bad piece of legislation that it’s hard not to believe that it was deliberately designed to prove that the federal government can’t be trusted to do a good job of administering healthcare ? as of course it can’t be as long as people dedicated to proving this very point are in charge of the federal government. This leads Kuttner to propose that Democrats should campaign this year on the promise that they’re the only ones who can fix this abomination, and he may be right. After all, 2006 is the year that an awful lot of people are going to find out firsthand just exactly what the Republican Party’s idea of good legislation really is.