The details of what this bill covers have been examined in excruciating detail in many, many places. Andrew Sullivan rounds up the usual suspects and their reactions. I'm just thrilled that we finally have something - anything - different from the status quo. I don't know whether or not this bill will solve the problems we hope it will. I hope it will. I have a certain amount of faith. For various reasons, I haven't followed the ins and outs of this debate as closely as I could have. I understand the basic outline, the amount of detail has been mind-numbing. I started following politics seriously when all you had to do was read The New York Times and a couple of other sources, and you knew all you had to know. I still haven't learned how to drink from the firehose that is the Internet.
What I do know, or at least what I feel comfortable theorizing about, is that this isn't just about healthcare, as broad as that topic may be. This may be the last great victory in the culture wars that started almost 50 years ago. Liberals have won on almost every issue in those wars: they have won on feminism, civil rights, the environment, abortion, and separation of church and state. They're winning on gay rights. They've essentially lost on gun control, but they're starting to win on crime, after losing for decades. Some would argue that they lost on the very broad issue of capitalism, but I don't think that was really up for debate. As frustrated as liberals are by corporations, only the wackiest have really seriously contemplated any kind of alternative to capitalism.
This is not just a political, legislative, or even cultural victory. This is a philosophical victory, an ideological one. What won tonight was the idea that government can improve the lives of its citizens. That's an idea that has been around for a long time, and there have been many victories on that front along the way. But this may be the ultimate victory for that idea. Which may be one reason Republicans fought this legislation so hard: they knew what was at stake, and they knew how badly they were losing. And now they have lost. Take it away, Mr. President: