Yglesias, in two posts gets at some of what is making me so pessimisitic about our situation in general.
I should make clear that this pessimism goes beyond health care reform. If we pass it, which is still possible, it will begin to combat some of the trends I'm trying to explain here without changing them.
The unique anti-majoritarian features of our constitution simulatniously make our government less effective and more suceptable to elite capture. The first post by Yglesias gets at part of why this is on a federal level, the second at how it comes out at the local level. This power of the elites has grown since Reagan, the growing inequality of the country has meant that their own economic power in comparison to middle class, much less poor voters, is outsized. Over 30 years of this cultural rot, this Gorden Gekkoizing of America, has lead to a culture that celebrates wealth. If you are poor, in short, you deserve poverty. It has infected all our institutions, high and low.
If there's one thing Obama's eleciton has proved is that, while he is not a sell out, the interests of the rich and powerful still skew the practices and priorities of democratic administrations. Bankers getting bailed out is an urgent political priority while jobs and stimulus are not quite as urgent.
Which leads to the question of this post.. the last eight years have been one long lessons to the american people of the problems with this world view and the political party that supports it. In 2006 and again in 2008 they voted said political party to within an inch of its life, democrats had majorities that no party has had in decades.
And yet, our nation continues its slow rot. Health care has been a stutterring uneven fight. Banks have been bailed out even as unemployment at 10% is seen as normal and job reports that report a loss of "only" 100k are seen as signs that everything is fine now. If what we have done cannot fix these things, what can we do? What more *can* be done?