Sunday, March 21, 2010

Profiles In Courage

I want to write this before the vote because no matter the outcome I am impressed by fortitude of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

After the Massachusetts senate debacle most political pundits were advising Democrats to give up the notion of health care reform. It would have been easy to have surrendered the fight as unwinnable and slink off to lick their wounds. Certainly that is what Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats expected. Instead they decided to fight.

In politics, as in warfare, it takes courage to engage in battle when the outcome is not assured. For example, no bravery was needed to invade Iran in 2003 since victory was inevitable. The Battle of Midway, however, required guts. No one would have criticized Adm. Nimitz if he had retreated from the Midway Atoll rather than risk his Pacific Fleet against the vastly stronger Japanese armada. Most historians agree the victory at Midway turned around the fate of the Pacific War in a single stroke.

Nimitz had balls of steel. So does President Obama and Pelosi has the female equivalent. They engaged in this health care battle whose success was problematic because it was the right thing to do and because if they didn't engage now they would never got a better chance later. (To use the Nimitz analogy, if he hadn't fought at Midway the US would have had to fall back to Hawaii and victory in the Pacific would have been distant hope.) They decided it was better to fight the good fight and risk losing rather than surrendering to a slow but certain defeat.

I don't believe the health care reform before Congress is the best of all possible bills but I do believe it is the best bill possible today. And I have profound respect for President Obama and Nancy Pelosi for having the courage to take up the fight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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This reader says, when I saw these photos I remembered your post!