People who advocate for a third party typically say that the two parties are too extreme. Matt Miller’s piece in WaPo today is no different. Matt Yglesias has taken on Miller’s assertion about Democrats defending teachers’ unions (which is obviously false considering Race to the Top and other Obama administration objectives), so I guess I’ll mention the health care bit:
Or take health care. Republicans say the answer is to repeal President Obama’s reforms — but they won’t offer plans to insure more than 3 million of the 50 million Americans who lack coverage. Yet Democrats want to micromanage providers, protect the trial lawyers who bankroll their campaigns, and fully insulate people from the costs of their own care, assuring that there’s no consumer brake on runaway costs. Again, Democrats and Republicans can’t solve the problem.
Let’s take the points one by one.
“Democrats want to micromanage providers” — Not clear exactly how this is intractable, since Republicans want this too (see all abortion cases ever). It seems to me that government’s very use of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement is already a micromanagement of providers.
“protect trial lawyers” — If only there were some prominent Democrat who could stand up and say he was willing to deal on tort reform in like a big, public address. Oh yeah, like this guy:
“I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs” besides repealing his healthcare overhaul, Obama said in his State of the Union address, including “medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.”
“fully insulate people from the cost of their own care” — Yeah, if only there were some sort of, oh I don’t know, like an individual mandate that made sure that all people paid into the system, like some sort of big insurance pool. And furthermore, what if we put in some cost controls, particularly on end of life care in Medicare, that ensured that only the most effective treatments were used?
The point is that these third party enthusiasts already got their wish without realizing it — a centrist President who is willing to deal on almost any issue and serve up sacred cows in search of a compromise. The only thing is that guy turned out to be Barack Obama and he already has a party. And it turns out that being willing to compromise on almost anything still doesn’t buy you any favors. (See the court cases against the individual mandate and the “death panels” hullabaloo.)