Chuck Schumer is Wrong About Health Care

I frequently lose patience with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. Perhaps his comments wouldn’t look so bad in their full context but he sounds like he values middle class voters more than the underclass and the medically uninsured:

Democrats made a mistake by passing President Barack Obama’s health-care law in 2010 instead of focusing more directly on helping the middle class, third-ranking U.S. Senate Democrat Charles Schumer said today.

“Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in electing Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a recession, Schumer of New York said in a speech in Washington. “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform.”

Schumer said Democrats should have addressed issues aiding the middle class to build confidence among voters before turning to revamping the health-care system. He said he opposed the timing of the health-care vote and was overruled by other party members.

I’d be more willing to forgive these remarks as Monday morning quarterbacking about political strategy if the analysis was worth a damn. Had the Democrats not pursued health care reform in 2009, they surely would not have enacted it in late 2010. In truth, 2009 was the only “opportunity the American people gave them” to get it done.

We don’t live in a magical world where the Democrats could have passed immigration reform in 2009 and health care reform on the eve of the 2010 midterms. Some things couldn’t wait and other things had to wait, and still other things never got done because the opportunity to do them was crowded out by the economic crisis.

I wish we didn’t have to trade people’s lives to have a better political strategy, but that was the choice we faced, and I’m glad we didn’t follow Schumer’s horrible advice and make the wrong decision.

If you want to know why the Democratic brand isn’t better, take a look at their message man, Chuck Schumer.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.