National Journal reports:
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he advised President Obama against taking up health care reform following a special election in 2010 that changed Democrats' fortunes in the Senate, saying that he should have instead turned his focus to financial reform.
Frank referenced former President Bill Clinton and his failed health care plan from the 1990s. “Obama made the same mistake Clinton made,” Frank said in a wide-ranging interview with New York magazine. “When you try to extend health care to people who don’t have it, people who have it and are on the whole satisfied with it get nervous.”
Frank thinks, I guess, that they could have done a more robust financial reform bill if they hadn’t wasted all their political capital on O-Care. I’m skeptical given Wall Street’s financial influence over both parties. If they had dropped ObamaCare, maybe they could have gotten through immigration reform instead. Blue Dogs would have had some leeway to vote for it since they wouldn’t have had O-Care hanging around their necks and it would have been a huge boon for the party in building on its advantage among Latinos for 2012, even if it did make life harder for Dems in purple districts in the midterms. (Then again, immigration’s an awfully tough sell in the middle of a grinding recession.) But then, why would you want to sacrifice the age-old liberal dream of universal-ish health care when it’s finally, finally feasible for some lesser policy agenda item? I’ve always grudgingly admired the Dems for gambling their majority in the House on the bill at the top of their policy wishlist. The GOP will need the same attitude to reform entitlements when it gets the chance. Frank’s basically arguing that that was a bad move, that they should have played small ball in hopes of maybe holding onto their congressional majorities — which was by no means assured given the state of the economy, whether ObamaCare passed or not. Why sacrifice a chance to impose a policy paradigm shift on America when, at long last, you have the numbers to do so?