Barack Obama’s organic approach to health care reform is a type of Darwinism applied to politics that I think I can endorse. Though it’s not 100% certain, it appears that Barack Obama will have a living, breathing health care reform bill to sign very soon.
And how, in the merciless desert of American politics, did he ever get this extraordinary creature to survive up to this point?
Answer: he set a couple of broad targets (under a trillion dollars, deficit neutral etc.) and then let the legislative process, by the most strenuous and vicious trial and error, produce an organic package that actually appears capable of getting 60 votes in the Senate and 220 votes in the House of Representatives. In other words, Obama let time sift through and weed out every weak idea—or politically unfeasible idea—and put something out into the world that is living.
Put still another way: Obama let trial and error match a bill to the sensibilities of the country’s elected representatives, and it was a bill that rigorously stayed within the realms of American democratic political reality, and matched exactly what a majority of the country’s representatives could stomach.
Obama was patient, and let time expose and kill folly (and by folly I mean anything that showed itself unable to survive in our contemporary political climate). While his opponents have been playing the short game, Obama has been playing the long game, and he’s about to win.