BOSTON (CBS) – One of my favorite quotes is from the Spanish philosopher George Santayana, who wrote:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
That’s a well-known saying, beloved by historians as an argument for their usefulness.
Lesser-known is the line that preceded it:
“When experience is not retained…infancy is perpetual.”
That version captures the bizarre scene in Washington, where President Trump and the Republicans appear intent on repeating the exact same blunders that turned Obamacare into political poison eight years ago.
Recall the sequence of events: the Democrats in 2009 had narrow control over both branches of Congress and, of course, the White House.
They rolled out a health care reform plan during that year, then rammed it through on a straight party-line vote in 2010 after Scott Brown’s surprise Senate win threatened to block it.
Obamacare was complex, expensive, riddled with problems and sold in part with a lot of bogus spin, such as “if you like your plan you can keep your plan.”
Opponents launched highly-charged spin of their own, like Sarah Palin’s lie about “death panels.”
And the Democrats took a shellacking in the 2010 midterm elections.
Too bad none of the Republicans currently in power were paying attention, because they are repeating every last one of those terrible mistakes.
And guess what? Voters still don’t like uncertainty and untrustworthy pols messing with a crucial part of their lives and incomes.
It’s amazing they don’t remember a past that only just happened.
It’s pathetic actually.
And once again, it’s a train headed right off a political cliff.