I guess I have a strange sort of respect for the kind of right-of-center view I'm seeing expressed here and there that one is torn about it. This view is rooted in caution, caution that I suppose its adherents see as being born of experience. They no doubt feel that they have seen too many instances when the perfect becomes the enemy of the pretty darned good.
It comes from those who are inclined to hate it, which is the view of a larger contingent of conservatives who say so without equivocation, but who see no alternative to weaving the thread that this bill's passage requires.
But about the time I start considering the validity of their position, I find myself looking at facts that refute it.
There's the argument that only the parts having to do with the government funding this or that provision can be altered or abolished through reconciliation. To that, the rejoinder is that, since the whole thing is, like the current "A"CA, propped up by government guarantees for its solvency, all of it has to do with government funding.
There's the argument that further conservative-type reforms, such as letting health insurance be sold across state lines and addressing the suffocating effect licensing policy has on health-care costs, would be addressed in a "phase two" or "phase three." To that, the rejoinder is that incremental stabs at undertaking something unprecedented like getting rid of an entitlement program are destined to never happen.
There's the argument that millions of people would lose their coverage. To that, the rejoinder is, Is it humane to consign these people to the substandard level of care that gets delivered when one is covered by Medicaid?
There have been previous plans, even bills, that were much more in line with a clean and total repeal. One such bill got sufficient votes to be sent to then-president Obama's desk in January 2016.
Why the hell wouldn't Congress just send the very same bill to the current president?
So this business of being "torn" strikes me as an unacceptable level of timidity.
And as for those among the actual lawmakers, the most visible face of which being, of course, Paul Ryan, who characterize this as the only chance and means to give America an alternative to the "A"CA, they suffer from a failure of will that ought to earn our contempt.
Damn it, there has not been a moment at which standing for principles has been more imperative.
This is the moment for looking right into a television camera and saying that federal government has no business being involved in health care, or the insuring thereof.
There should be no talk of tinkering with this or that provision. There should be no rhetoric along the lines of "more patient-centered." All you have to do to make health care patient-centered is remove government.
This has implications beyond health care. This is the juncture at which we decide whether we accept the premise that progressives, going back to the original crew of a hundred-plus years ago (Thorstein Veblen, Richard T. Ely, Charles Beard, Herbert Croly, John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson), have demanded that we swallow - namely, that a cabal of "expert" "bureaucrats" must dictate the contours of economic and social life for the individual citizens of this nation.
If we say that we have never swallowed this tyrannical hooey, this is the moment for making good on it.
And that is going to require a principled Congress. It won't come from an executive branch guided by the ideologically rudderless modus operandi of Donald Trump. He just wants to sign something the makes him look like he scored a "win" for the American people.
No, we are going to have to demand that our elected lawmakers demonstrate spine as never before.
And the potential for heartbreak, not to mention the victory of tyranny, lies in the fact that the right outcome lies within our grasp.
Republicans do not have to settle for an inadequate measure. It is not a necessity.
So I'm not torn, and that's because the right thing to do is obvious.
Not a walk in the park, but obvious.