Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brief Healthcare Aside

If both Jon Chait and Ezra Klein are talking about the healthcare "narrative" within hours of one another, then the JournoList must have finally reached consensus on the most important political aspect of the healthcare issue: Is it better to pass an unpopular bill, or to fail to pass an unpopular bill? As usual, peoples' analysis tends to dovetail nicely with their personal preferences. How convenient!

That said, the question isn't ridiculous. I just think the parties involved are approaching it from different perspective. Let's frame it in a different way:

A husband makes a pass at a woman who isn't his wife. He winds up not following through with the flirtation. His wife finds out anyway. Imagine how unhappy she might be. Now, would she be more unhappy if, instead, she found out that her husband had actually gone through with the affair? Or would her unhappiness be about the same?

That's the lens through which the politicians involved have to approach their decision. And I think that in most instances the wife (ie, the voters) would be more upset if her hubby actually nailed Tiffany from accounting (that trollop!) than if she learned that he merely made a sloppy pass at the office holiday party.

The problem, I think, is that a lot of the non-elected people on the left are viewing this not from the wife's perspective, but from the husband's. In other words, instead of thinking about the question as framed above, they're thinking about it this way:

A husband makes a pass at a woman who isn't his wife. He immediately realizes that, for whatever reason, he isn't going to be able to keep this quiet and his wife is going to be pissed. Envisioning all the trouble he's likely to be in come morning, he thinks to himself, "Jeez, if I'm going to get Elin-ed, I might as well earn it . . ."

That's fine so far as it goes. The problem is that while political opinion writers have the luxury of thinking like the husband, elected officials, by necessity, tend to think like the wife.


gabriel said...

the analogy i've been thinking of is that it's more like a woman leaves a party with a man intending to sleep with him. at some point she has second thoughts and he tells her "everybody who saw you leave with me already thinks you're a slut so you might as well sleep with me." it might be an effective argument in terms of discounting sunk costs but it's not exactly chivalrous

TubbyLover69 said...

Yeah, but Tiffany is so fuckin hot ...