Bancroft Prize-Winning Historian Nancy Tomes is Coming to Messiah College Next Week!

Tomes Poster

If you are in the area on Thursday evening, September 27, join us for the 2018 Messiah College American Democracy Lecture.  This year’s lecturer is Nancy Tomes of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  In 2017, Tomes was awarded the Bancroft Prize in American History for her book Remaking the American Patient: How Madison Avenue and Modern Medicine Turned Patients Into Consumers.  Tomes’s American Democracy Lecture is titled “Doctor Shoppers: From Problem Patients to Model Citizens.”  The lecture will take place at 7:00pm in the Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts, Parmer Hall on the campus of Messiah College.  Free tickets are required.  To reserve tickets call 717-691-6036 or reserve tickets online at messiah.edu/tickets.

If you want a taste of what you might expect at the lecture, listen to our interview with Tomes in Episode 22 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

If you are a health-care professional or someone who is interested in our current health care debates, this lecture is for you.  I will see you there.

Bancroft Prize-Winning Historian of Health Care Nancy Tomes is Coming to Messiah College

Nancy Tomes is Distinguished Professor of History at Stony Brook University.  Her 2016 book, Remaking the American Patient: How Madison Avenue and Modern Medicine Turned Patients into Consumers won the prestigious Bancroft Prize in American history.

“This is like a dream come true.”

On September 27, Tomes will deliver the 2018 Messiah College American Democracy Lecture at 7:00pm in Parmer Hall.  If you are in the area you will not want to miss this lecture!  See you there.  Stay tuned for more details.

Listen to Tomes discuss her book on The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Tomes

 

Will Jerry Falwell Jr. Debate Shane Claiborne?

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I will be shocked it if happens, but Clairborne, the evangelical social justice activist from Philadelphia, has challenged the Liberty University president to a “public conversation” on health care.

The website Christian Today reports:

Radical Christian Shane Claiborne has challenged Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jnr to a public debate following the defeat in the Senate of a bill aimed at repealing Obamacare.

Read the rest here.

Whatever happens with this debate, I am relatively confident that Claiborne has been blocked from Falwell’s Twitter feed.  Welcome to the club!

Civil Rights and Health Care

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I am not a scholar of the Civil Rights Movement, but I found Vann Newkirk’s piece on the Civil Rights Movement and health care to be compelling.  (I would appreciate any insights from scholars of the Civil Rights Movement).

Here is a taste of Newkirk’s piece at The Atlantic:

It was a cold March night when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. turned his pulpit towards health care. Speaking to a packed, mixed-race crowd of physicians and health-care workers in Chicago, King gave one of his most influential late-career speeches, blasting the American Medical Association and other organizations for a “conspiracy of inaction” in the maintenance of a medical apartheid that persisted even then in 1966.

There, King spoke words that have since become a maxim: “Of all the inequalities that exist, the injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.” In the moment, it reflected the work that King and that organization, the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), were doing to advance one of the since-forgotten pillars of the civil-rights movement: the idea that health care is a right. To those heroes of the civil-rights movement, it was clear that the demons of inequality that have always haunted America could not be vanquished without the establishment and protection of that right.

Fifty-one years later, those demons have not yet been defeated. King’s quotation has become a rallying cry among defenders of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark 2010 legislation that has come the closest America has ever been to establishing a universal guarantee of health care. Their position is in peril, as the Republican effort to repeal the law and create a replacement that leaves 22 million more people uninsured over the next decade and will slash Medicaid enrollment by 15 million now sits just days away from possible passage.

People of color were the most likely groups to gain coverage and access to care under the ACA, and in the centuries-old struggle over health, they have never been closer both to racial equality of, access and to, the federal protection of health care as a civil right. But if Republicans have their way, that dream will be deferred.

Just as the ACA’s defenders find themselves between a once-in-a-generation victory and a potential equally devastating loss, so the MCHR found themselves in 1966. King delivered his address just months after breakthroughs a century in the making. In the height of the movement in the early 60s that brought sweeping changes in voting rights, integration, and education, civil-rights actors had also won major victories in a push for universal health care. Chief among those victories were two of the defining pieces of 20th-century American policy: the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Of course, the Civil Rights Act might not seem like much of a health-care bill, and Medicare isn’t usually counted among major civil-rights victories, but as detailed in in health-policy researcher David Barton Smith’s The Power to Heal: Civil Rights, Medicare and the Struggle to Transform America’s Health System, they were complementary pieces of a grand civil-rights strategy.

Read the entire piece here.

Here is a piece about the King quote mentioned above.  It is apparently very had to track down and there is no recording or transcript of the speech he delivered on March 25, 1966 to the second convention of the Medical Committee on Human Rights.

Congressional Budget Office: 22 Million People Will Lose Healthcare By 2026

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The Washington Post reports on this.

A few quick thoughts:

  1. The defenders of the Senate bill to replace the Affordable Care Act believe that the free market is the answer to all of our problems.  They are free to believe this.  But they also have to sleep at night realizing that 22 million people will lose health insurance as a result of this bill. It is very difficult to pull a social safety net out from under people once they already have it.  Ideas have consequences.
  2. The defenders of the Senate bill to replace the Affordable Care Act will inevitably argue that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is wrong in its conclusions.  OK, let’s grant this point. Let’s just say that the CBO is off by 10 million people.  The GOP defenders of this new bill will have to go to sleep at night realizing that 12 million souls will lose healthcare by 2026.
  3. The defenders of the Senate bill to replace the Affordable Care Act will hurt some of the most vulnerable people in American society, including seniors and the poor. The GOP defenders of this new bill–many of them say that they value the life of vulnerable members of society–will have to sleep at night.

This Week’s "Anxious Bench" Post at Patheos: "Some Thoughts on Dr. Ben Carson’s Prayer Breakfast Speech"

Political conservatives are singing the praises of Dr. Ben Carson’s speech last week at the National Prayer Breakfast.  Carson, a Johns Hopkins University pediatric surgeon and an evangelical Christian, used the speech to attack political correctness and Obamacare.  Oh, and did I mention that the President of the United States was seated a few feet to his right during the entire speech?

Watch the speech here.

Over at his blog “Clear, Expert, and Entertaining Connections,” Regent College (Vancouver, BC–not Virginia Beach) theology professor John Stackhouse is not happy with Carson or his speech: 

Some of our American cousins are a-twitter (so to speak) over the speech given by surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson at the National Prayer Breakfast before the President and 3000 other dignitaries. It will get whatever critique it deserves on its political merits from others, no doubt, and that’s the point of this brief theological musing: It was a political speech, not anything remotely resembling a theologically informed talk, let alone an actual sermon.

Yes, Carson began with four Scripture verses—to which he did not then refer throughout the rest of his 27-minute address. Yes, he mentioned God or Jesus a few times—much as President George W. Bush did, namely, as the source of his public policy ideas (notably the flat tax as directly deriving from the principle of the Old Testament tithe, a hermeneutical move no one who has passed an elementary course in Biblical interpretation would ever make), the rationale for his rhetorical choice to tell what he called “parables” (most speakers don’t feel obliged to invoke divine sanction for employing illustrations), and, indeed, his “role model.” Of course, we heard about “one nation under God.” And with that we got mostly the “gospel” of self-help.

I have to agree with Stackhouse…. 

Read the rest here.

Greg Garrett: A Christian View of Obamacare

I really like Greg Garrett’s thoughts on how Christians might think about the Affordable Care Act.  I applaud his efforts to reflect Christianly (and not just politically) on the meaning of the act.  Here is a taste:

How might Christians have a conversation about Obamacare that isn’t simply about political talking points and dueling statistics?

In Faithful Citizenship, I argued for the importance of identifying what we’re really talking about when we talk about politics, and discussed how we might make ethical decisions from our Christian core, not our secular culture. We often reason from the standpoint of freedoms and liberties, important American ideals, but they’re not necessarily preeminent for us as people of faith. While certainly we extrapolate an absolute value for each human being by the way Jesus loved and valued everyone, these rights and freedoms are book-ended for people of faith by responsibilities.

Liberty is always balanced, in the life of Jesus, against the needs of others, and his actions throughout the gospels show a continuing pattern: Jesus ministers to others; he goes up on a mountain alone or with close friends and takes care of himself; he comes back down and ministers to others; he takes—or tries to take—some time for himself. Jesus does have some boundaries—notice how he perceives when someone touches the hem of his garment seeking healing in Mark 5—but he also is on Earth intentionally doing selfless things on behalf of those who need his help: healing, feeding, teaching, casting out unclean spirits.

Taken together, these consistent actions of Jesus suggest a Christian attitude toward the issue of health care; if we take his life and teaching seriously, Jesus seems to indicate that healing and taking care of the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves are supreme Christian values. Jesus is a force of life and hope who empowers—and requires—his disciples to heal and feed and teach and restore people to their right selves. All of this argues that we may, as Christians, be called to uncomfortable places when we begin to serve our brothers and sisters, a place where our secular boundaries and values would call us to stop short.

Einer Elhauge Responds to His Critics on The Founding Fathers and Individual Mandates

Earlier this week we posted on Einer Elhauge’s New Republic article showing that the so-called “founding fathers” favored a type of “individual mandate.”  The post drew some good conversation on our Facebook page.

Elhauge’s piece received a healthy dose of criticism, including a post from constitutional scholar Philip Hamburger.  Elhauge responds to that criticism here.  A taste:

Even if you do believe that these early mandates were justified under clauses other than the Commerce Clause, they demonstrate that the framers clearly thought purchase mandates were a “proper” means of executing constitutional powers. That’s enough to show that the framers would hardly have been horrified at the notion of mandating purchases—and enough to validate the Obamacare mandate under the Necessary and Proper Clause.

As I have argued elsewhere, and will be arguing in a forthcoming book on historical thinking, attempts to apply the beliefs of the founding fathers to contemporary political debates is wrought with difficulty.  Nevertheless, it does seem clear that the founders did “mandate” certain forms of insurance and health care.  I will let the constitutional scholars and lawyers decide what that means for Obamacare.

The Founding Fathers and Mandates

Did you know that the Founding Fathers had no problem with what today we call “individual mandates?”  In 1790, the first Congress (which included 20 Constitutional framers), passed a law requiring ship owners to buy medical insurance for their sailors.  George Washington signed this piece of legislation into law.

In 1792, Congress (with 17 framers of the Constitution as members) required all able-bodied men to buy guns.

In 1798, Congress required sailors to buy hospital insurance for themselves.  This “individual mandate” was signed into law by John Adams.

Here is a taste of Harvard’s Einer Elhauge’s piece in the New Republic:

True, one could try to distinguish these other federal mandates from the Affordable Care Act mandate. One could argue that the laws for seamen and ship owners mandated purchases from people who were already engaged in some commerce. But that is no less true of everyone subject to the health-insurance mandate: Indeed, virtually all of us get some health care every five years, and the few exceptions could hardly justify invalidating all applications of the statute. One could also argue (as the challengers did) that activity in the health care market isn’t enough to justify a purchase mandate in the separate health insurance market. But the early mandates required shippers and seamen to buy health insurance without showing they were active in any market for health insurance or even health care, which was far more rare back then.

Nor do any of these attempted distinctions explain away the mandate to buy guns, which was not limited to persons engaged in commerce. One might try the different distinction that the gun purchase mandate was adopted under the militia clause rather than the commerce clause. But that misses the point: This precedent (like the others) disproves the challengers’ claim that the framers had some general unspoken understanding against purchase mandates.

In oral arguments before the court two weeks ago, the challengers also argued that the health insurance mandate was not “proper” in a way that allows it to be justified under the Necessary and Proper Clause. These precedents rebut that claim because they indicate that the framers thought not just purchase mandates but medical insurance mandates were perfectly proper indeed.

I guess the framers of the Constitutions were socialists after all.

Commonweal Weighs in on the HHS Contraception Mandate

Commonweal, the progressive-leaning Catholic magazine, has come out against Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services for mandating that religious-affiliated institutions require health insurance policies to include free coverage for contraceptives and sterilization.  Here is a taste of the editorial that will appear in the February 24 issue of Commonweal:

This was a serious mistake (see “An Illiberal Mandate,” December 20, 2011). The administration’s decision raises deep concerns about its understanding of the fundamental corporate and institutional nature of the Catholic Church and similar religious communities. The HHS decision comes perilously close to insisting that the government should determine what is or isn’t a religious organization or ministry. The reasoning behind restricting the exemption to institutions that primarily employ and serve coreligionists appears to be based on an essentially sectarian, and historically Protestant, understanding of “religion.” The Catholic Church, which understands its public presence to be vital to its identity and mission, should not be forced to abide by such restrictions. 
Recognizing how potentially disruptive the decision is, the administration gave institutions an extra year to comply. Many hope that a compromise can still be reached. One possible solution would be to segregate funds the way the Affordable Care Act segregates funding for abortion. When we look else where like Europe for example, their simple ehic renewal, a system that covers all with basic healthcare, this needs to be studied not shunned. Employees seeking coverage for contraception would have to purchase that separately, but without incurring a financial burden. That administrative solution has worked to the satisfaction of Catholic institutions in Hawaii, where a state law mandates contraception coverage. 
The hyperbolic response of the bishops is not likely to help fix things. “Let us make no mistake: the future of our freedoms in our beloved republic is threatened now as never before,” said Bishop William Lori, chair of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. Bishops now face the choice of either violating their consciences or dropping health coverage for employees, Lori claims. But providing policies that allow individuals the option of using contraceptives does not involve any direct cooperation with evil on the part of the church. No Catholic physician is being forced to prescribe contraception or to perform sterilizations; no Catholic hospital is being forced to dispense contraception or permit sterilization procedures. If Catholic institutions must choose between complying with the law or dropping health-insurance coverage for employees, they should comply “under duress,” while working to modify or overturn the law. In this instance, the greater good of providing health insurance for all employees outweighs the “evil” involved in the possible use of contraception by some. A different calculus would be employed if the funding in question were for elective abortion, which is a much graver evil.

Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page is much more forceful.  It slams both Obama and Romney.  Read it here.

I think E.J. Dionne is right.  Obama blew it.

E.J. Dionne: Obama Botched the Contraception Decision

This, at least, is the view of Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne:  Here is a taste of his recent piece at Commonweal:

One of Barack Obama’s great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health-care law.

His administration mishandled this decision not once but twice. In the process, Obama threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus, strengthened the very forces inside the church that sought to derail the health-care law, and created unnecessary problems for himself in the 2012 election.

This might not have mattered if Obama had presented himself as a pure secular liberal. Before he was elected and after, he held himself to a more inclusive standard, reassuring many religious moderates.

His deservedly celebrated 2006 speech on religion and American public life was a deeply sophisticated and carefully balanced effort to defend the rights of believers and nonbelievers in a pluralistic republic.

Obama’s speech at Notre Dame’s graduation in 2009 was another tour de force. His visit to South Bend was highly controversial among conservative and right-wing Catholics. Yet the address he gave temporarily silenced many of his critics because it showed both an appreciation for the Catholic Church’s contributions to American life — particularly through its vast array of social-service and educational institutions — and a great instinctive feeling for Catholic sensibilities.

In the health-care law, Obama annoyed some in his liberal base by making sure that Catholic institutions do not have to perform or pay for abortions. Yet rather than praising him for this, the bishops and the Catholic right invented the idea that the health law does cover abortion. It doesn’t, as Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, insisted. In backing the administration’s view on this, she braved attacks and discipline from the bishops. That’s why it was unconscionable for Obama to leave her hanging out to dry.

At issue in the new controversy were regulations promulgated January 20 by the Department of Health and Human Services as to which medical services should be covered by insurance policies that will be supported under the Affordable Care Act.

Read the rest here.

The Catholic Left is Mad at Obama

According to William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal, Barack Obama’s mandate requiring employers to provide their employees with health care coverage that provides free birth control and sterilization has angered many on the Catholic left who supported the president in 2008.  Here is a taste:

When Barack Obama secured his party’s nomination for president in 2008, one group of Democrats had special reason to cheer.

These were Democrats who were reliably liberal on policy but horrified by the party’s sometimes knee-jerk animosity to faith. The low point may have been the 1992 Democratic convention. There the liberal but pro-life governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey Sr., was humiliated when he was denied a speaking slot while a pro-choice Republican activist from his home state was allowed.

With Mr. Obama, all this looked to be in the past. In 2006, the Illinois senator delivered a speech declaring that “secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square.” He followed up by appearing at fund-raisers for the anti-abortion Bob Casey Jr. during Mr. Casey’s successful run for Sen. Rick Santorum’s senate seat.

Sen. Casey went on to co-chair Mr. Obama’s National Catholic Advisory Council. Sixteen years after the snub to his dad, he was given a prime-time speaking slot at the 2008 Democratic convention. And Mr. Obama would go on to capture a majority of the Catholic vote.

Now, suddenly, we have headlines about the president’s “war on the Catholic Church.” Mostly they stem from a Health and Human Services mandate that forces every employer to provide employees with health coverage that not only covers birth control and sterilization, but makes them free. Predictably, the move has drawn fire from the Catholic bishops.

Read the rest here.

A Response to a Blog Comment for the Ages!

Over at Cliopatria, Chris Bray has had enough with a commentator named David Silbey. 

Earlier today Bray wrote a post criticizing attempts to compare mandatory health care to early republican laws mandating that citizens join the militia.  In this particular case, Bray was challenging the thesis of Jack Belkin’s post on civic humanism, a post we blogged about a few hours ago at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.

And then the fireworks started. 

Here is Bray’s post.

Here is Silbey’s comment to Bray’s post.

And here is Bray’s response to Silbey:

David, I’m done with you. You aren’t reading. You’re not making an argument. I’ve asked you three times in three ways to clarify your argument or arguments, and you’ve refused or ignored all of those invitations. I’ve repeatedly defined my argument and my intent, and have said explicitly that I am not examining the question of constitutionality. You’re throwing out word clouds — the kind of chickenshit wordplay that academics find so impressive. It’s beyond dull.

I’ve built a discussion about the functioning of the early militia and the arguments over authority that people had at the time, and I’ve done that using historical examples (and with historiographic references). You haven’t. You’re boring.

Health Care and Civic Republicanism

Jack Balkin, a law professor at Yale, connects universal health care to civic humanism.  Here is a taste:

What is lost in the debate over the individual mandate is that the point of the individual mandate is also civic republican in nature. It requires citizens to make a far less significant but also public-spirited sacrifice on behalf of other Americans who cannot afford health insurance. Individuals must join health insurance risk pools to make health care affordable for more of their fellow citizens. This is a very modest request that individuals not be entirely selfish and that they contribute to the public good in a small way by helping to make health care accessible and affordable for all Americans it’s strange that the process of ordering Kratom online is something that is helped more than regular healthcare. Indeed, under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, one doesn’t even have to purchase insurance; one can simply pay a small tax instead. And one doesn’t have to pay at all if one is too poor to do so or has a religious objection.

The notion that being asked to either buy health insurance and make health care accessible for one’s fellow citizens–or to pay a small tax– is a form of tyranny akin to George III’s regime is simply bizarre: it shows how perverted and twisted public discourse has become in the United States. The assault on the individual mandate is really an assault on the public duty to assist other Americans in need, and in particular, an assault on the legal obligation to pay taxes to contribute to the general welfare. The assault on the health care bill is not a defense of liberty. It is a defense of selfishness.

Did the Founders Favor Government-Run Heatlh Care?

Rick Ungar, a writer for Forbes, thinks that they did.  So do some historians.

Check out this article about Ungar’s thesis in last week’s Washington Post.  Here is a snippet of that article:

Forbes writer Rick Ungar is getting some attention for a piece arguing that history shows that John Adams supported a strong Federal role in health care. Ungar argues that Adams even championed an early measure utilizing the concept behind the individual mandate, which Tea Partyers say is unconsittutional.

I just ran this theory past a professor of history who specializes in the early republic, and he said there’s actually something to it. Short version: There’s no proof from the historical record that Adams would have backed the idea behind the individual mandate in particular. But it is fair to conclude, the professor says, that the founding generation supported the basic idea of government run health care, and the use of mandatory taxation to pay for it…

Read the rest here.

Sean Wilentz on the Return of Nullification

“The current rage for nullification is nothing less than another restatement, in a different context, of musty neo-Confederate dogma.”

So concludes Sean Wilentz in a recent article in The New Republic about the revival of the idea of “nullification” in American political life. He offers a short history of the idea and then brings it to bear on our current political situation.

Here is more:

Historical amnesia is as dangerously disorienting for a nation as for an individual. So it is with the current wave of enthusiasm for “states’ rights,” “interposition,” and “nullification”—the claim that state legislatures or special state conventions or referendums have the legitimate power to declare federal laws null and void within their own state borders. The idea was broached most vociferously in defense of the slave South by John C. Calhoun in the 1820s and 1830s, extended by the Confederate secessionists in the 1850s and 1860s, then forcefully reclaimed by militant segregationists in the 1950s and 1960s. Each time it reared its head, it was crushed as an assault on democratic government and the nation itself—in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “the essence of anarchy.” The issue has been decided time and again—not least by the deaths of more than 618,000 Americans on Civil War battlefields. Yet there are those who now seek to reopen this wound in the name of resisting federal legislation on issues ranging from gun control to health care reform. Proclaiming themselves heralds of liberty and freedom, the new nullifiers would have us repudiate the sacrifices of American history—and subvert the constitutional pillars of American nationhood…

…That these ideas resurfaced 50 years ago, amid the turmoil of civil rights, was as harebrained as it was hateful. But it was comprehensible if only because interposition and nullification lay at the roots of the Civil War. Today, by contrast, the dismal history of these discredited ideas resides within the memories of all Americans who came of age in the 1950s and 1960s—and ought, on that account, to be part of the living legacy of the rest of the country. Only an astonishing historical amnesia can lend credence to such mendacity.

Historians Weigh In On Health Care

The Daily Beast has an interesting forum on the passing of the health care bill. It features four historians–Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ted Widmer, Sean Wilentz, and Michael Kazin.

Here is a summation:

Goodwin: Places health care reform legislation in the same category as Social Security and the Civil Rights bill.

By extending health care to almost all Americans as a right and not a privilege, this bill is indeed historic. The measure of its historic nature can also be taken by the number of presidents who have tried and failed to get health care passed, from its listing in the Progressive Party platform in 1912 under the heading of social and industrial justice, to FDR’s failed attempt to include it in Social Security, from Truman’s fight for it, to LBJ’s signing of Medicare in the presence of Truman, from Nixon to Clinton.

Widmer
Had the GOP been able to stop the health-care bill, it would have effectively neutered the Obama presidency after little more than a year, ending the political revolution that began with Barack Obama’s remarkable grassroots campaign. The legislation passed by the House, even in stripped-down form, revives the momentum that the president desperately needs to take on the huge challenges that remain, including the Middle East, China and jobs, jobs, jobs.

Wilentz Praises Nancy Pelosi:

It is rare for a speaker of the House to assert much independent authority and will to achieve a major piece of legislation. No speaker in modern times has performed as powerfully as Pelosi has over health care; for an apt comparison, one might have to go all the way back to Speaker Henry Clay of Kentucky, who, with an iron grip on procedures as well as personnel, rammed through the compromise that resolved the Missouri crisis of 1819 to 1821 and delayed by nearly four decades the crisis over slavery that led to Civil War. Curiously, the modern political figure who has most often cited Clay as a role model is Newt Gingrich, whose performance as speaker proved disastrous for his party and himself. We may, though, at last have seen the emergence of a speaker with Clay’s talents in Nancy Pelosi. The tough, resilient woman has saved the day.

Kazin

The long, exhausting march to health-care reform should remind us of a truth that ideologues on the right and left tend to ignore: Every liberal moment in modern American political history has been both hard-won and brief…

The passage of health-care reform is the signal liberal achievement of Obama’s presidency—and may also be the last. But the president and his allies in Congress can also take heart from another historical parallel. In those earlier liberal moments, the policies Democrats were able to enact—from financial regulation and Social Security to civil rights and Medicare—quickly became popular enough to silence all but the most hidebound right-wing challengers...