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Examiner.com: 2 Democratic House Delegates look for middle ground in health insurance debate Print

BY  DANIEL CARAWAN, Richmond Progressive Examiner

Created:  Saturday, January 14, 2012

How the winds of political discourse can change. Now, at least two members of the Virginia Democratic Party are selling a legislative measure on its ability to restrain the federal governments influence in Virginia.

On Tuesday, Dels. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) announced their proposal to set up health insurance exchanges in the commonwealth to meet the requirements embedded in President Obama's health care law.[1]

Both Hope and McClellan stated that their health insurance exchange bill follows closely the recommendations of Gov. Bob McDonnell's Virginia Health Reform Initiative (VHRI). But if recent history is telling at all, even the bipartisan recommendations of the VHRI won't satisfy those on the ideological right whose primary objective is dismantling anything with President Obama's fingerprints.

The arguments for these "half-way" political moves by the Democratic Party of VA are often couched in the belief that their acceptance depends on bipartisan political support. Indeed, that's no doubt correct. The problem is, as mentioned above, many members of Virginia's Republican Party see compromise as blood in the water that should be attacked.

Moreover, if this political move by some within the Democratic Party of VA is a electoral move generated to win votes come next election, it becomes a compromise that sacrifices future attempts to negotiate more left-leaning policy positions. That's to say, moving towards the political middle makes it more difficult to shift towards the left of the political spectrum for a given piece of legislation or issue.

The Republican Party of VA is not in the business of compromising, despite the public pronouncements of figures like Gov. McDonnell. Many conservatives see the world in black and white, not shades of gray. Thus, there is winning and there is losing, no in-betweens.

Conservatives are right, though, to see some issues in black and white. When it comes to the health and welfare of Virginians, there's no room for compromise.