President Barack Obama and White House staff react as the final votes are counted for the passage of the Affordable Care Act, March 21, 2010.
(Image by (photo: Pete Souza/The White House)) Permission Details DMCA
Of course it doesn't get any easier when your party's figurehead and "closer" is under investigation by the FBI and Congress for being a Russian puppet. Does that matter? Likely, yes. Sure the Freedom Caucus wanted major concessions on the healthcare bill. But they might also have been leery of standing too close to a White House that, regardless of their denials, can't quite manage to photoshop Russian President Vladimir Putin out of their team picture. In parliamentary terms, the Republican retreat on the repeal of Obamacare was a vote of no-confidence on the party's leader. Trump's rise to power has given the GOP the power of its fondest dreams, and the baggage of its worst nightmares.
But that diverts attention away from the powerful and lasting affirmation of President Barack Obama's legacy. In direct terms, what turned back the Republican plot to overthrow the Affordable Care Act was white voters in red districts coming out in historic numbers to say, "Do not take my Obamacare coverage away." The Republicans tried to downplay the significance of the town hall demonstrations, but privately repealing Obama's signature achievement appeared, in electoral terms, like it had third rail written all over it.
What the GOP had convinced their base of in 2010 was that Obamacare was synonymous with Communistcare. A thoroughly dishonest meme that they rode all the way to capturing a House majority. Five short years after its enactment it is now viewed, particularly by low income Americans, regardless of political affiliation, as an indispensable lifeline to medical treatment and nothing short of an act of mercy.
What stands as the greatest testament to Obama's legacy is that his signature legislative achievement did not just survive, but the people it was intended to serve stood up and fought for it.
It's not what the Canadians have or what Europe has. The Health Care industry is still deeply entrenched and still reaping outrageous profits. It's not single-payer, a system that Americans have every right to build if they want to (think freedom). But it is, in the hearts and minds of the American people, worth standing up and fighting for.
Congratulations President Obama, now you can hang out with Willie Mays. Like him, you earned it on the field.
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