Joe Weisenthal makes an important point about the battle over healthcare with this statement:
We’ll say this, in all sincerity: If Pelosi can get this done, she and Reid deserve MAJOR credit for what will be a triumph of party unity, to pass something this gigantic on 100% party-line votes, in the face of overwhelming political risk. Nothing like this has ever been done.
He is entirely correct with respect to the United States Congress, however, something just as gigantic and equally fraught with risk was accomplished a number of years ago with disastrous results for the body politic. I’m referring to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.
That decision like this one essentially came down to a case of momentous, game changing law being handed down without a search for consensus or compromise. The result has been a never ending war of words, and unfortunately sometimes more than words, without a venue in which to sort out differing positions.
It was a we win, you lose event. Democracies don’t cope well with those sorts of outcomes.
Transitory majorities in courts or legislatures sometimes provide the opportunity for one idea to completely triumph over competing ideas. If they are wise, those given the opportunity to bring about major change recognize the imperative to scale back their dreams in order to bring as many as possible into agreement with their proposals. If they are unwise, they fail to resist the temptation for complete triumph.
We appear to be living in an age with few wise women or men.