We knew it from polls dating back to the Bush Administration which indicated the majority of Americans supported the Public Option for health care reform, Medicare cannot be politically, eliminated. Why Rep. Paul Ryan and the GOP chose to ignore that public reality, and put forth and pass a Republican bill in the House to get rid of Medicare in favor of a voucher private sector system, can only be answered with one word, Ideology.
The Republican ideology includes the premise that because their wealthy supporters can take care of themselves and don't need government assistance to take care of them, legislation for all Americans should be patterned after the desires of the wealthy. It is the stupidest, most ignorant ideology that could possibly be proposed in a democratically elected nation. Rotted fruit which this ideology begets, was plucked from the branches of Jane Corwin and Republicans tonight by democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, now declared the projected winner in the most Republican district in the country.
What the GOP failed to appreciate was the fact that the majority of their constituents are regular, hard working, middle class Americans who believe Medicare is the right idea, even if it is in need of reforms to make it more sustainable and cost effective. The GOP however, made the fatal mistake of ignoring these constituents, while acting as if their only constituents were the far more wealthy, and corporate campaign supporters and donors like private sector health insurance companies and their executives.
The NY 26 special election race is a bell-weather election, portending Republican losses across the board in 2012. Republicans up for re-election in 2012 now have a choice to make. They either give up their reelection bid or they give up Rep. Paul Ryan's budget which kills the Medicare and Medicaid program. No doubt, many will back away from the Ryan budget and tell constituents they favor an alternative instead, which preserves Medicare while reforming it. But, to make any alternative meet the smell test, they will have to provide a completely new and viable budget proposal, something most politicians are incapable, or unwilling to do because of the monumental size of the task.
Republicans have boxed themselves into a corner with no practical way out. And the NY 26 race reduced the number of 25 Republican seats to 24, for Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives. Entirely plausible in light of the election results tonight in New York. The majority of Americans, like a majority of Republicans, believe the government can do some things better than the private sector can, to include running the military and waging war, providing education to all young Americans, and yes, now, providing public health care to those who can't afford or qualify for private health care access.
Which highlights a fundamental philosophical shift in America in the form of two definitions of socialism. There is the Communist definition of socialism in which the government owns and controls all the means of production and services for the society. And then there is the modern Western definition which exists in all Western democracies where socialism is defined as the government operating industries where either, it can do a better job or, where the private sector is unwilling or incapable of providing the public need for that service.
By the latter definition, most Republicans are actually socialists though they would never admit to it. They are, nonetheless, because they believe the government is the only entity capable of creating and operating most effectively, the nation's defense. They are, nonetheless, because they believe the only way to insure all Americans have access to education is through a public government regulated education system, (albeit local government). A great many Republicans, and majority of independents also believe that the only way to insure that all Americans have health care access when needed, is with a socialized health care system like Medicare and Medicaid, with the individual mandate to participate in such programs.
The public, as evidenced by tonight's NY 26 race, will not support the GOP ideology that the best government is the least government. Government, especially America's government, has as a mandate in its founding documents, the obligation and responsibility to promote the general welfare for all its citizens. It is the public interests, not the private individual interests alone, that government is obligated to serve, if it is to remain a viable government supported by the public. There is simply no way to get around this reality. Republicans ignored this mandate of public common sense, in adopting the Paul Ryan budget to give tax dollars to already profitable corporations (oil companies) and kill Medicare for the working classes and elderly into the future.
There is a reason the Republican Party has an historical and traditional role as the minority Party. The Paul Ryan budget to kill Medicare and government services to fulfilling public need, reiterates and reminds the American public why the Republican Party has been, and should continue to be, the minority Party in our political system. They exist to safeguard the rights and interests of the wealthiest and corporate minority. Every two decades, in other words, each new generation has to relearn this historical fact about the Republican Party, after the GOP has won control of government for a long enough period to enact their ideology.
Medicare wins, because the idea of government insuring that no American be forced into an alley to die of illness or injury due to the inability to pay a private, for-profit, health care company, is an idea which the majority of Americans believe is both fair and just, whether they acknowledge it, or not in polls.
All the ballots are not yet counted, but, Jane Corwin has already petitioned for, and been granted, by the State Supreme Court a halt to the certification of the election results. Are these shades of Florida, year 2000?