By Neil McCabe
Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election because she never made the pivot to become the champion of reform. In the primaries, her daughter Chelsea tested out some criticism of Obamacare, but the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders was too close, but they lost their nerve. Right before the “Access Hollywood” tape dropped Columbus Day weekend, President William J. Clinton, the nominee’s husband tested out a new line of attack against Obamacare–and it freaked me out.
If Clinton had allowed her husband to continue addressing the problems with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it would not be Nixon-to-China, it would have been Humphrey-Opposes-Bombing-North Vietnam, a gambit that took Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey from being an LBJ stooge to the voice of the anti-war movement–and within a breath of winning the election.
For six years, Democrats have had to lie to Americans and lie to themselves about President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform. If Clinton had given her voice to acknowledging the problems and offered constructive adjustments, she would have lifted the burden off the backs on Democrats of defending a disaster and she would have offered Republicans a chance to take a second look.
A Hillary Clinton willing to take on the reform mantle would have energized her base and provided enough Republicans and Independents wary of Donald J. Trump an excuse to vote for her.
There would be the additional narrative of the former first lady reclaiming what had been her own policy agenda.
There was chatter that Obama had cleared Mr. Clinton’s criticism of his landmark bill, but methinks his wife the nominee did not have the ability to break with orthodoxy.
In the next year, Obamacare will be restructured and reformed. But, instead of leading that effort as president, Clinton will be watching it on the news with the rest of us.
Reprinted from Neil W. McCabe’s Facebook page. McCabe is a national political correspondent for Breibart News and a former editor of The Somerville News.