Concord Monitor Editorial: A Doomed Effort
March 24, 2010
Republican state Sen. Jeb Bradley plans to file legislation that calls for exempting New Hampshire residents from an eventual federal mandate to purchase health insurance. If Bradley cannot be induced to give up his quixotic fight, Senate Democrats should minimize the embarrassment to the state by swiftly rejecting it. Federal law trumps state law, as Bradley, a former congressman, well knows.
Bradley's campaign, one being waged by Republicans in many states, is just political theater to allow conservatives to say, come election time, "Remember me: I'm the guy who stamped his feet really hard when health care reform passed."
The health care debate has united Republicans but also diminished them. The bill that passed, after all, was not much different than the one they proposed to counter Clinton-era health care reform efforts.
But that didn't stop many in positions of authority in their party from succumbing to talk that stopped just short of raving - cries not just of socialism but of "tyranny," "government takeover" and the "death of freedom."
The Republican members of Congress who stood on a House balcony to display a "Kill the bill" message at least showed the restraint expected of top elected officials; instead of writing the letters on their bare chests, they kept their clothes on. But their actions helped whip a crowd of protesters into such a frenzy that several yelled racial epithets at black members of Congress and spat on them.
Bradley has certainly not encouraged such behavior. But he does himself no credit by joining his party's vainglorious attempt to kill health care reform by challenging the federal mandate to purchase coverage.
The effort, as theater, is a farce. It's not the passage of health care reform that spells disaster; it's preserving the status quo.