Anybody remember the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988?
The wonks said it was good policy. They were right.
But the politics was a different story. Seniors started to see (or expected to see) increases in what they had to pay. They revolted. Representative Dan Rostenkowski was literally pushed around.
The legislation was repealed. Rostenkowski famously said, "This House is in full retreat."
That's what happens when policy wonks disregard the political angle. Here is Atrios today on the health care legislation: [1
Whatever the merits of the bill, and they exist, the politics are going to be horrible.
... on most subjects [public reaction is] the first thing [people working on legislation] think of, both about the policy itself and the myriad imaginary attack ads that can be run based on the policy. If voters don't like this thing, it'll likely be repealed before most of it even takes effect, either because Republicans take over or because frightened members of a Dem controlled Congress do so.